REVIEW: Eugene Erickson - “The Brightness of His Coming”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Twenty-two minutes. As long as a half-hour network show minus the commercials, a nice and tidy package stripped of its fluff. While Eugene Erickson’s The Brightness of His Coming could hardly be construed as a regular album or even an EP, this collection of offbeat, sometimes arrhythmic, tracks is peculiarly attention-grabbing through its quirky eight song avant-gardism. Coupled by the keys and guitar of Mike Schanning on six of the eight tracks, The Brightness of His Coming rings concept, yet it’s merely a trippy sampling of one man’s distorted vision.

The buzzing, psychedelic guitar of the opening song, Starcrush 2.3, is a space oddity amidst a lackadaisical back melody as the project slips into He is God, featuring a Cure-like breeziness with the rhythm and lead guitars straying often from each other between sampled preachery that is nearly pretentious yet somehow avoids outright cheekiness. Stoned vocals guide Morning Gloom, as the often keyless acoustic lends a strange charm to produce a hallucinogenic effect, a grogginess and fugue implied by the song’s title. Rochester is far more confident in itself with its driving acoustic and odd twang that produces neat surf kitsch.

Video Game Sequence is alternative and it is seventies retro in the same sequence. A cute and affecting keyboard experiment that rings nostalgia with its inspired melody and flashback technology, Video Game Sequence nicely sets up Dance Beater with its throwback wa-wa fuzz distortion accompanied by a hip digital dance beat. The killer leads accent what comes across as a lost Peter Frampton concert finding itself astray in an eighties mix machine.

Springtimes has a sudden reserved acoustic lead that leaves a hushed and textured feeling to the track, while the disc’s finale isn’t quite as spectacular. Gazing Out the Window, Waiting has more surf guitar, albeit gored to death, sounding like Dick Dale fighting through a bad acid trip. A clever gambit that doesn’t fully pay off due to its annoying tendencies, the moondrunk Gazing fortunately doesn’t mar The Brightness of His Coming; it merely signals a back-to-the-drawing-board sensation.

Consider these eight songs rough sketches of what could potentially be visionary work down the road. Eugene Erickson is daring without complete obnoxiousness. His nubile work is slowly coming together in increments and while he may stumble here and there, his hypothetical two feet are moving as they should be.

Contact Information:
Eugene Erickson
Post: 35 Chestnut St., Apt. 202, Rochester, NY, 14604, USA

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