Review by: Brandon Jones
In days long ago, I knew of a little band called “Craig’s Brother” of which they released the hard hitting and socially aware full length “Homecoming” on Tooth and Nail Records back in 98. Well two members of that band, Adam Nigh and Andy Snyder quit not long after the release of the afformentioned album deciding to go their own course in musical mission. So what did they do? Well they founded a fantastic three piece band called “Too Bad Eugene”. Too Bad Eugene signed with Mike and Tom’s (Mxpx) label Rock City Recordings back around 1999. In 2000 their debut “At Any Rate” was released and took the scene by storm. I sold a TON of copies of this album in my store alone back around 2000-01. They carried the same biting socially aware lyricism of their prior band and forged forward with their unique sound. There were of course thousands of pop punk bands at the time but none quite like Too Bad Eugene. I had the pleasure of meeting these three guys when they played my church around 2001. They were the nicest down to earth guys you could meet. They each had families and were well grounded in a spiritual sense. Great guys. Well I kept in touch with them over the next few years even passing their name on to Brandon at Tooth and Nail at one point. I guess he must have liked them because they were signed soon after to the mighty scene defining label, Tooth and Nail. Too Bad Eugene went on to release one of the most fantastic punk rock albums of all time called “Moonlighting” on said label and it was something fresh that I was searching desperately for in the void, utterly dull scene. Moonlighting released to little fanfare, disappearing amongst stacks of other cds and slipping into the bargain bins of your favorite local stores. The band didn’t tour and for that they were doomed from the start. When it comes down to it, did it honestly matter if they toured or not? I could care less, I was all about that plastic medium known as the Compact Disc and as long as it played in my stereo, I was a happy, content boy. Too Bad Eugene as you probably already pieced together had in fact broken up not long after the release of “Moonlighting” and disappeared into the darkness they sprung from. Another tragic end to a musically original group of guys. As much as I was saddened by their demise, I continued to spin At Any Rate and Moonlighting until I wore through the plastic coating of said cds and then the “skips” began to take place in my burnt out worned stereo. I knew it was time for new music. Thus we all moved on but these little known gentleman, began to work on their next endeavor……….
That leads us up to the end of 2005 when I finally got word that Adam and Andy of Too Bad Eugene were secretly concocting their new recipe for energetic high voltage rock n roll. What did it sound like? Well I heard some demos on Purevolume and at first I was turned off by the sound quality but still curious as to what would come of it. I kept playing the songs and they continued to grow on me. The band left us with several messages over the course of a year saying their “new” album was about to drop of which said event hadn’t occurred. Days turned to months and months to a year. Finally after what seemed like an infinite amount of anticipation “Aeon” was finished and ready to be unleashed on the crowds. But what does it sound like? Here is where we begin………
The disc begins with the track “Rise and Fall” and as you guessed, that trademark sound of Adam Nigh takes root and control of your soul. The production is on par with most independent bands and I am instantly drawn to melodic catchy melodies over taking my ears. Rise and Fall isn’t the typical punk rock song, this is straight ahead rock without irritating whining and pretentious bull crap. This is meat and potatoes rock with melodies you can sing along with. Wow, what a concept! The song details the sticky nature of man’s fascination with the lukewarm behavior. “A new day dawns upon us. From so much building up. We’ve seen the old course run. So catch this rising fire and praise your new messiah. Until another comes. In the rise and fall your soul divides But behind it all Wisdom stands through time…..”
“Nashville” springs up next with another onslaught of guitars. This is what I enjoy, hearing the guitars right up in front and center. The guitars radiate on this disc, even with the limiting production. Anyway…This is a tricky song lyrically and can be interpreted by many different angles. Instead of trying to explain it myself, just read the lyrics and you decide:
“Who do they think I am?/Who do you say I am?/I am I AM/So long, they’re going to kill me before too long/With those stupid sterilized saccharine songs/So sing along/I’m going to be betrayed/Thirty coins or a radio play/They nail me up as they sing my name/But don’t you let nobody fool you/Their lullabies like the beauty of fake roses/Diverting your eyes while they kill me/They’re killing me/I see their heart so far from me/Killing me/Their sacred songs, take them away/They’re killing me/Yeah/they’re killing me (I see their heart)/I’ve been betrayed (So far from me)/I’ve been their prey/They nail me up as they sing my name/They’re killing me/Yeah/Who do they think I am?/I wish they would take those songs away from me/Take those songs away from me/
“Suttee” hits next with it’s stinging lyrical prowess about someone losing their way and gaining back their dignity. “Rise, lick your wounds and face the sun/Stake your claim once more/Because you hold inside something worth giving life for/The answers to why/Don’t get pushed aside, take back what yours is rightful/Don’t get pushed aside…”
The album ends after just four short tracks. Yes it is an ep and yes it is only 4 songs long. “Down With You” ends the album on a strong note. The song is pretty much summed up in these short words, “letting go”.
Did I forget to mention that this is a five piece band? Adam Nigh isn’t playing bass or guitar this time around like he did on past efforts. This time he takes the center stage to belt out these delightful anthems. Though I’m not entirely sure they are still a five piece. Anyway….
To sum up this lengthy review, I am at a loss for words. Sometimes it is difficult for me to write these thing which is why it is becoming less frequent to see a review written by Brandon. It’s a bittersweet romance. There are some albums worth writing about and a whole bunch that are forgettable. This is one of those rare albums where something strikes you as unique, and something easily retainable by the mind. This is not a record to be tossed by the wayside or thrown upon a bargain bin. Thrush is a highly melodic rock band with a few punk tendencies but unlike most bands of the thinning genre. Thrush holds their own weight in this rock marketplace and leaves a small mark on the scene at large. Sure this is a small band with little clout to make a statement but their music deserves a listen. Keep in mind, if there was no such thing as independent music, there would be no such thing as a “label” to begin with. It starts with bands like this. The only downside to Thrush is that they don’t tour or play shows too often. Because of that fact, they most likely won’t be getting any big deals in the near future. Still the music endures and will last another generation among fans like myself who clinch on to records like this as if it’s a long lost piece of treasure. Progress, you either hate it or love it. I’ll keep it simple, I love Thrush (as if you couldn’t already tell from reading above). It is music like this that gets my blood boiling and my heart pumping. Thank you Thrush for making my drives to work so much more bearable. Who knows what deals lurk around the corner. You just never know. That’s all folks. Thanks for reading. Now back to my corner of the room…………………