August 11, 2013

Review: Eros And The Eschaton | Home Address For Civil War

Here's a thing that is true: a lot of dream pop is not dream-like; as beautiful and as subdued as certain of it may be, the descriptor often acknowledges an aspiration, not an actuality. There are, however, bands that can jack right into a dream-state from the first note and navigate an entire set with admirable agency, building emerald cities of sound and then tearing them down like Leonardo DiCaprio in "Inception." Which brings us to the rising North Carolina dream-pop concern Eros And The Eschaton, whose debut full-length Home Address For Civil War is due Tuesday from Bar/None. The music on the collection grafts sweet, somnolent melodies to compositions that thrive on a balance of coarse shoegaze textures, palpable ambience and engaging pop intentions. Gently shot through the dreaminess and noise is a unifying pop sensibility that makes the record a satisfying and especially remarkable debut.

Eros And The Eschaton, as we wrote here in June, is Adam Hawkins and Kate Perdoni, although the band is augmented with additional players for shows. The principals met performing in Omaha, cemented their coupledom at some point thereafter, had a child, formed the band in 2012, and then settled in Greensboro. Perhaps the dreaminess of Home Address For Civil War is a result of the pair trying to do a band and raise a small kid at the same time (the record commences with a baby's cry before launching into the endlessly ascending "20 Different Days"). Or perhaps we are just projecting our own exhaustion. But within and throughout their patient, brilliant (and brilliantly mixed) set, Mr. Hawkins and Ms. Perdoni layer wavering organ, guitars, heavily reverbed percussion and murmured vocals to create tracks that are paradoxically as loud as they are intimate. The fixating charmer "You Know I Do" is as much a pastiche of feedback and ambient noise as it is a simple, crushingly poignant affirmation of love. At the beginning of "Over And Over," the pair's chanting of the title sounds like a confession, like an exchange of secrets. Closer "Trust Me I Know" opens with a gently pulse of organ and reverbed, looped guitar,  then slowly decays into a soft, swirling mist that dissipates gently over the span of more than five minutes.

Just releasing this latter song would constitute a triumph, but the record offers a lot more. There's Yo La Tengo-flavored pop candy like "Lately (I've Been Wondering)" and percussive cacophony to be found in "Terence McKenna," a song that recalls the noisier moments in the catalog of dreamy contemporaries Big Deal. Indie rock fans will find there's a lot of Yo La Tengo flavor to Home Address, facilitated in part by the similar approach to vocals taken by Hawkins and Ira Kaplan. That assessment is not meant to limit listeners' ideas of what Eros And The Eschaton is, but rather a signifier of the vast potential Hawkins and Perdoni are sitting on, potential that could enable Eros And The Eschaton to become as smart, incredibly nimble and widely varied act as the legendary New Jersey trio. Home Address For Civil War, we hope, is only a beginning. After playing a hometown festival date late this month, the band leaves home for most of September, when it will perform a series of mid-Atlantic and midwest dates to support the release of the record. Fans can also expect to see a music video soon, as details of a shoot were posted to the band's blog here. Two pre-release singles are available to stream below; pre-order Home Address For Civil War right here.

Eros And The Eschaton: Interwebs | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Tumblr

08/23 -- Greensboro, NC -- The Greenbean
09/05 -- Raleigh, NC -- Slim's
09/10 -- Washington, DC -- The Sunshine District
09/11 -- Baltimore, MD -- Club K
09/12 -- Philadelphia, PA -- PhilaMOCA
09/13 -- New York, NY -- Piano's
09/16 -- Beloit, WI -- The Music House
09/17 -- Chicago, IL -- Big Forever
09/20 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Sound Gallery
09/21 -- Omaha, NE -- Slowdown
09/22 -- Omaha, NE -- DP Muller Studio
09/23 -- Omaha, NE -- Phenom Blues House
09/24 -- Kansas City, MO -- Record Bar
09/25 -- Lincoln, NE -- Vega
09/26 -- Ames, IA -- Maximum

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