The Luck of Eden Hall/Alligators Eat Gumdrops
August 14, 2012
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A fitting title for the freshest box of hard candy from one of Chicago’s finest: something a little tough, something sweet to chew on…something that pushes back just right when you take a bite. Nuggets or nougats? As expected from The Luck of Eden Hall, a bit o’ both. Their last, Butterfly Revolutions, had a larger scope obviously aided, and abetted, by packing a one-two volume punch, but LOEH still kept it short, sweet and direct. Alligators Eat Gumdrops does the same, though this time the pieces are individually wrapped for your chewing pleasure, many sporting their own unique flavor rather than a creamy frosting spread over the whole cake. There’s a bevy of spices and sprinkles from the sitar dandied crunch-meets-pop of Bangalore, guests Mars Williams’ sax and Jim Licka’s Mellotron, Summertime Girl’s playful cathedral-of-the-60s keys, to the slight folky acoustic accent on Wasting the Days of Youth that makes it seem like Tull might have gingerly, and surreptitiously, stuck their dirty fluted finger in the box. LOEH know how to lead you in by the hand for the first bite, and opener High Heeled Flippers doesn’t let you down, luring you in with a Beatlesque whiff that not only lets the new know where LOEH butter one side of their bread, but also undercuts some of their winsome, mild melancholy with their playfulness. There’s something about the production that seems a little tougher, a little more direct in the chomp, from Lofgren and Mendoza’s always great bottom-end through the guitar grind, to Curvey fraying his pipes over the blowing on Ten Meters Over the Ground. Ornate without being frilly, poppy without being wimpy, it’s LOEH’s trademark coloring of hardy pop with 60s psych. Pop and psych meet headfirst all the time; worked the first time, works now in the hands of outfits like LOEH. Contrary to what’s in the poisonous air, both sides can still meet in the mixing bowl and get it done. Doing that in these rancid partisan times with no bitter aftertaste, without one side losing to the other, without a sour dose of sarcasm, is what Alligators Eat Gumdrops, and LOEH, are about. Summertime Girl certainly knows this…There’s a common goal in mind and they work together to get there. Never a compromise, but a buttery consensus where the machinations are as well-intentioned as they are well-oiled.
Alligators Eats Gumdrops is available in a limited edition of 200, with hand embossed art by Curvey and a bonus track download, Queen of the Stars.