The Eames Era bring achingly saccharine vocals and light-hearted melodies with the release of the Louisiana-based outfit’s second full-length album. Gaining high levels of airplay with tracks from their 2005 debut album, Double Dutch, the Eames Era decided to stick with a good thing, returning to twee-pop sentiment and tambourine percussion in the 2007 follow-up, Heroes and Sheroes. This album is bursting with three-minute pop gems, encompassing all the favorite aspects of indie-pop—seemingly insipid lyrics, acoustic interludes, and undeniable charisma. The Eames Era have followed the indie-pop formula to the letter, and the end result is something undeniably catchy. Whether this infectiousness is due to the sugar-sweet vocals, or the sheer optimism radiating from each track, the Eames Era will have you dancing around your living room with fervor.
It’s very simple to draw comparisons between the Eames Era and indie superheroes Rilo Kiley—at times the similarities are uncanny—and comparisons such as this are going to plague the Eames Era for the rest of their foreseeable careers. While energetic, snappy, and twee as anything (just listen to the line “True, I think you’re cute / In a pull my pigtails kind of way” on “Watson On Your Side”—twee-er words have never been spoken), Heroes and Sheroes will forever be hounded by comparisons to other indie groups. They seem to be a mishmash of other popular groups’ best elements: Tilly and the Wall’s tap-dancing percussion graces “Copious”, and vocalist Ashlin Phillips is far too reminiscent of Jenny Williams for comfort. “Is everybody still in love with being someone else?” Phillips fittingly sings on “Where’d You Go?”, a track filled with “la la la"s in place of a chorus, and kitsch keyboards. Heroes and Sheroes is entirely too predictable, from the feedback introduction to the impromptu spoken-word ending. However, that’s not to say that the album is without merit. If indie pop is your shtick, this LP is sure to be on high-rotation on your bedroom stereo.
Heroes and Sheroes certainly has its strong points, particularly in tracks “Fake Do-Gooders” and “NC17”. The sound that the Eames Era creates is sickeningly likable, created entirely from starry-eyed percussion and gratingly gleeful guitar. However, it slowly becomes more impossible to escape the fact that each track is incredibly familiar. Each song has already been created by one or more of their indie-pop predecessors. While Heroes and Sheroes is a fantastically fun and uplifting way to spend half an hour, there are easily dozens of bands who can create exactly the same sound.
Indie music has become incredibly formulaic; it could even be said that it has steadily stagnated into a state of constant handclaps and obscure percussion. The Eames Era make a very stylish contribution to the ever-growing indie pop collective, but go no further. The album doesn’t take any stands, or create a definitive style or rhythm, and although it is snappy and adorable, it fades very quickly into the indie pop flood that is currently inundating the international music scene. Heroes and Sheroes definitely has its strong points: it’s catchy, affectedly adorable indie pop, complete with infectious riffs and bop-along vocals. Unfortunately, the Eames Era aren’t the only band in the current market that posses these same characteristics. Until Neko Case dies, or Rilo Kiley disband, the position that the Eames Era are applying for has already been filled.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article