Album Review :
The Apathy Eulogy - Beauty for Ashes

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Artist: The Apathy Eulogy
Album: Beauty for Ashes
Label: None (released independently)
Release Date: April 10, 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Two to Tango, One to Miss
2. Daphne Doesn’t Love Derby… She Hates Men
3. Baby, Maybe
4. Perfect Kisses
5. I Can Tell You’re Lying because Your Lips Are Moving
6. Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady
7. Be My Rescue
8. Such a Complex Situation
9. The Longest Drive Home (I Should’ve Taken the Subway)

My introduction to this fine acoustic band, The Apathy Eulogy, begins like most other band introductions these days, on MySpace. It was well over a year ago, and I ended up seeing them twice before singer and guitar player Ben left the band. Having already released the incredible Things Hoped for, Things Unseen as a solid three-piece, I was worried what may happen to the future of my newfound friends from Baltimore, Maryland. They still had Rob, the other singer and guitar player, and Brain, the percussionist who plays a “box,” but one thing was for sure: this band would not be the same.

Out of nowhere one day I signed onto MySpace, looked at my top 8, and saw The Apathy Eulogy had a new default pic… this time with five guys. Shocked, I read their bulletin to find they had acquired not only John Cotter (who was playing for another small acoustic band, Vienna, at the time), but also Mitch and Josh, who would be playing keyboards and bass guitar, respectively. I was unsure how I felt about this expansion at first, but after seeing them twice more, the latter of the two being a CD release show, I have determined the new line-up works without drastically changing their catchy and memorable sound.

The new release, Beauty for Ashes, contains re-recordings of five songs from their first CD and four songs written by the full five-piece. Some of the older songs transitioned better than others, but overall they’re still a great band and this is still a great CD. Among the best songs on the album is “Baby, Maybe,” which includes a lot of synth and brilliantly shines the new direction of The Apathy Eulogy. John and Rob can trade off or layer their voices in a way that works, as heard in songs like “Such a Complex Situation” and “Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady.” Many tracks sing of romance in both a hopeful (“Perfect Kisses”) and despairing way (“Daphne Doesn’t Love Derby… She Hates Men”). “Be My Rescue” is a prayer about not wanting to give struggles over to God, but eventually knowing that the only true relief comes from Him. The opener, “Two to Tango, One to Miss,” finds Rob’s voice (and lyrics) a little more youthful than the rest of the album, but the la-da-da’s in the chorus are catchy as anything, therefore justified and welcomed, along with the upbeat acoustic guitars and well thought-out background vocals during the verses. The Apathy Eulogy slow things down for a few songs, including “I Can Tell You’re Lying because Your Lips Are Moving.” On this one, Rob and John harmonize more, and the keyboards work to lighten the mood.

Ben had a great voice, and his loss could have left this band in ashes. Fortunately, they not only replaced him but grew their sound into something refreshingly new, something beautiful, something most other bands haven’t touched that still remained true to who The Apathy Eulogy are. The synth was a great addition, and while I can’t really hear the bass at all, other people seem to think it brings a fuller sound. In these nine acoustic gems, you may find a few rough spots (such as the “box” being too quiet from time to time), but overall the songwriting, execution, and production are fantastic.

8/10

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