Bio (from eolian.bandcamp.com): A 35-minute continuous-music concept album about birds, eggs, and flight. Eolian: (adjective) Relating to, caused by, or carried by the wind. Progressive-Rock band from Denver influenced by prog bands of the ’70s like Jethro Tull and Genesis and also guitar bands of the ’90s like Jawbreaker and Fugazi.
Musicians: Ian O’Dougherty (vocals, piano, guitar, recording, mixing, production), Sean Merrell (drums), Adam Edwards (bass), with: Julie Davis (additional harmony vocals), Chris Fogal (additional harmony vocals), Bob Ferbrache (organ, recording, mixing, mastering)
Eolian’s EGG is hard to classify. As their bio info says, EGG is a concept album, and it certainly has the prog-rock influences as well as the 90’s guitar rock influences apparent, but yet, it is more than that. If I had to try and explain EGG to someone, I guess I’d call it “prog-punk-pop” and hope they didn’t ask me what that meant! As far as the concept, yes it is about birds, but it is about much more far-reaching issues. It is about death and birth, and heavily about the toll people are taking on the world; on “Season” Ian sings “People making problems… Something must be done, or else / No more coastal cities… These are the problems we can’t ignore / changes must be made right now, or / No more coastal cities.” So yes, the album is about birds and flight, but more it is about life and death, and specifically about the consequences of our decisions.
EGG is more prog than punk, more rock than pop, but it has little bits of many influences showing up. Guitars and pianos dominate the music, the vocals are harmonious (never guttural or screamed), and the lyrics are easy to understand. EGG rocks, but it never gets so heavy as to be unappealing for the average person, and it softens in places, but never long enough to turn off your average rock fan. Musically, it is a very well balanced album, and a very accessible album.
The part of EGG that really shone for me was the lyrics. They are not enigmatic – O’Dougherty tells you exactly what he is talking about, there is no need for translation – and that is a really good thing because he has a lot of important stuff to say. As I mentioned previously, EGG is about a lot more than birds and flight. The overarching theme of the album is “we need to make changes now before it’s too late.” EGG is very much an album about climate change, about human ignorance, and about waking up; and EGG repeats its warnings throughout the eight tracks, using different ways to make the same point. Stories of loss of habitat, loss of life, and loss of chances to make a change if a change is not made soon dominate EGG. The overall message: wake up, now.
So, on top of the great music and production Eolian brings to this release, I need to comment on the packaging. Eolian is part of the same scene as Ian Cooke, and shares the feeling of importance put upon the packaging of the music. In addition to the digital download, EGG is available on CD, and vinyl (purchasing either of which entitles you to a immediate download of the album while you wait for the physical copy to arrive in the mail). The CD comes in an origami “nest” designed by Ian Cooke, which is really appropriate for the nature of this album. The real visual standout is the vinyl, which also is nested in similar origami packaging (and if you get the CD/vinyl combo, the CD’s package sits nicely within the vinyl’s nest!), and is available either on clear wax, or on beautiful translucent blue with white splashes. I purchased a copy of the vinyl for my father, who told me, “even if I don’t like the music, I can hang it up on my wall,” and I completely agree; the album its self is art on its own.
Overall I really enjoyed EGG. For the casual listener it is a rocking 35 minutes filled with harmonious vocals and extremely well-produced melodies; this album does not sound “independent,” its production is as crisp as any major label release. For the person that takes the time to truly listen and absorb the message, EGG is a prophecy of things that may happen, a warning of what we are doing to our planet and to ourselves. I hope people will take the time to listen, not only to support a great independent music release, but to truly listen to what EGG has to say and to take heed… or no more coastal cities.
Overall 8 / 10
EGG for sale: http://eolian.bandcamp.com
EGG site: http://eolian.bandcamp.com