Eisenhower Field Day / Tyrants and Spies
October 16, 2008
I’m not sure what events Indianapolis-based Eisenhower Field Day are competing in but my money is on the 400-yard dash. Take a listen to their third album, Tyrants and Spies, and you’ll agree. Don’t have a copy? Too bad! The Eisenhowers give it all they have in “Williams Dam,” a rocket of a song that zooms along with jangly guitars, light vocal harmonies and a smile. “Talking Like We Do” spends a full 16 seconds on a slower guitar intro before jumping back into race mode with a unique stuttering drum pattern in the verse, building to a musical exposition that includes a brief but tasty fuzz bass passage, adding a bit of sonic variety to the proceedings thus far. More variety is found on “Sunshine Patriots,” where a gritty bass opens the song before the full band kicks in, albeit with edgier guitars and a more moderate tempo than previously heard, giving the performance a less breathless feel. “Lighthouse” likewise includes a few surprises, taking it’s time to develop with a relaxed tempo that facilitates musical exploration … a definite album highlight.
For the most part, guitarist Noah Butler sings lead, with bassist Holly Butler performing harmonies, although she manages to wrestle the microphone from him for “Brave Daughters.” The clean guitars are fast and furious but rarely venture into heavy or distorted territory. Phil Kitchel’s command of the drums is also impressive, holding the band’s speedster tendencies tight to the tempo. The overall sound is a homogenous musical mass that rarely deviates for the duration of the album – if you like one song you’ll likely like them all, but be warned that the inverse rule also applies. Should you favor music that’s upbeat in tempo and full of happy melodies, then you’ve come to the right place.
Eisenhower Field Day take all the energy of punk and temper it with melodic rock, creating a power-packed punch sure to please power pop fans in our state’s capital or other state capitals. While I don’t pretend to know everything, it’s even possible that people who don’t live in state capitals will also enjoy Tyrants and Spies. (Jason Hoffman)
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