Every so often, in a state of anxiety, I’ll wonder if, like oil, melodies are a finite resource and that we’ll soon run out of them. And judging from the lawsuits arising from hip-hop’s unauthorized uses of riffs and snippets of other songs, you wonder if that day is quickly looming
Then you hear Calling Distance Stations from the Nines, and all is well with the world. In fact, it’s so well that you wonder if lead vocalist Steve Eggers has cornered the market on the best melodies, discovering some secret formula for creating tunes that elicit such joy and euphoria.
I’ve mentioned The Nines previously on this blog, and this won’t be the last time, either. In their 10-year career, the band has released four albums, the latest being last year’s Gran Jukle’s Field. But Calling Distance Stations is a masterpiece.
From the opening chords of the fast-paced “Drama Queen,” Eggers channels Ben Folds, but without the attitude. “Take What You Want” has multiple hooks – so many, in fact, that you wonder (back again to a finite supply of melodies) if he shouldn’t conserve and just use a couple. The fact that he doesn’t take this advice and instead crams them all into one song is a wonderful experiment in melodic excess.
The production is fairly simple. “Mary Jane” seems straight out of a Wings album, sounding sad and beautiful at the same time. It begins with a simple piano, and builds slowly with a horns section. There’s something about adding horns that makes a song sound important, and that feeling is not lost with this song.
Other times, Eggers uses the simplicity to perfection, with only a keyboard and his voice to express his thoughts. “Marigold” has a turn-of-the-century, Americana feel, touched slightly with strings. And “Goodnight My Love,” a lullaby for his daughter, can bring tears to your eyes.
As I’ve said before, Steve Eggers has so many ideas he’s uploading snippets under pseudonyms on MySpace, at times using nonsensical syllables in place of words just so he can get the melodies down. He is an unknown master composer, and it’s a shame his music is not better known. So go buy his records. It will help him pay the bills, and it will bring a smile to your face.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.