Bursting out of El Paso, Texas come Eep with their debut album Death of a Very Good Machine. This is a band with a story to tell, a message for the listener. One which repeats throughout this album. A message bore out from the life experience of founding member Rosie Varela. Quite simply, that message is, don’t give up. Ever!
The album opens with the majestic lead single ‘Hogar’ Spanish for Home. This is a love song to Rosie’s husband; Justin and you can feel the love that has been poured into every second of this track. The song is punctuated with some exceptional drumming from Lawrence Brown which rises and falls with the dynamic production. Rosie’s angelic voice floats above it all reminding me of Liz Fraser in her prime.
After that pacy start we take it down a gear for the brooding ‘Canal’. There is an almost volcanic feel to this song. Like something is there, underneath, just waiting to erupt. The vocal interplay between Rosie and Serge is magical and at times reminds me of early Sigur Ros. The call and response is really eerie and beautiful at the same time.
After a short segue we emerge into the title track pulsing and fully formed. The circular vocals from Rosie, Ross Ingram and Sebastian Estrada are wonderfully disorienting, leaving the listener giddy by the time the song peaks and sputters out on a flourish of static and feedback.
There’s no time to waste as we launch headlong into the swaggering grace of ‘When It Was Over’. I love how the guitars weave together forming a sonic sea that the song sails effortlessly over. There’s something infinitely comforting about this song. I defy anyone not to feel immediately soothed and relaxed after listening to it.
Next up is the second single from the album ‘Outlast You’. This is a storming out and out rock song bathed in reverb and fuzz-soaked guitar. A song written as a retort after Rosie was told that she was too old to form a band. This monster of a track blows that misconception out the water. Everything is supersize here. The riffs are huge, drums pounding, vocals are dominating. Rosie especially owns this song. I can see this being a live favourite with the fans.
After the frenetic rush of the last track we relax into ‘Breathless’. This is where we see Eep playing to their real strength, working as a team. With Serge Carrasco and Ross taking the call and response of what I’d call the core vocals, Rosie brings her mellifluous and glacial vocal in on top. This creates a wonderful structure to hang the song on. Add to the mix some beautifully reverbed, chiming guitars and some world class drumming and you have a perfect song. This has become my album highlight after many listens.
The quality remains sky high as the ghostly intro to ‘Can’t Keep Hurting’ appears. There’s something about this track that will keep listeners interest for many many plays. Is it the exquisite guitar parts, clever bass and drum interplay, the way the chorus just sneaks up on you? I just don’t know and I’ve listened to this track a lot. All I know is every time I play it, I get lost in its many layers and am always surprised when it segues into the final track on the album.
‘Closer’ with its minimalist and charming production brings the albums to an end in a perfect way. After the head spinning complexity of the previous tracks the counter play between the grounded guitar line and Rosie’s subdued vocals really help us decompress and absorb all we have heard.
In Death of a Very Good Machine Eep have given us all hope. A belief that despite all the obstacles life puts in our way that the good will out. This album deserves a place in your home, in your heart. If you let this music in you will be rewarded hundredfold with each listen.
Death of a Very Good Machine is available from the Eep Bandcamp page digitally, on CD and Limited-Edition white vinyl.
(First published on DKFM here 12/07/20)