Album Review: Eamon Ra — Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity

The album title telegraphs that Eamon Ra is something of an eccentric artist. That the LP comes packed with a magazine-sized lyric/comic book only serves to reinforce that impression. And then when one digs into the music itself (as one most assuredly should), the discovery is that this character belongs in that rarefied place wherein live such artists as Martin Newell (Cleaners From Venus), Robyn Hitchcock and Wreckless Eric.

With a sound that draws from the baroque pop of mid-period Beatles, Eamon Ra crafts sturdy songs that evoke thoughts of English musical hall traditions (as filtered through the sensibility of the Kinks’ Ray Davies). But there’s also a cracked-view perspective that suggests Flaming Lips at their best. Listeners may hear hints of everything from Brian Wilson to Nick Lowe to any and all of the aforementioned creative artists. As the hype on the lyric book cover states, “Psychedelic! Mad! Sad! Glad!” Honestly, that about covers it. Lovers of jangle and Mellotron will thrill to the endearingly lo-fi “Kiss Somebody You Love,” “Nightingale” feels like a White Album outtake, and “Waiting for the Morning” rocks like vintage Soft Boys. But everything on Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity comes together to create a superbly crafted, consistent collection of music.

Hearing the voice and music of Eamon Nordquist may lead some listeners to think of Orgone Box; there’s an undercurrent of British character to much of this music. So perhaps the biggest surprise for those new to the music of Eamon Ra is that Nordquist is an American. But where’s he’s from matters much less than the fact that he’s here and now. Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity is recommended to fans of most any name you’ve read here, and in the most vigorous terms.