Indie music doesn’t produce many European bands of note, Iceland being the main exception. Whether it is the language barrier that prevents them gaining a wider audience or the record company and media stranglehold of the USA and the UK, it seems inevitable that there are bands out there in every city, writing and recording their music. Listening to the debut album by Lack Of Eoins gives credence to this view and shows that indie music is alive and well, even in far flung areas of Europe like Estonia.
Lack Of Eoins hail from a town on the Estonian coast called Tallinn and they are apparently the only indie group in that area. Having few bands to bond with in their hometown doesn’t seem to have held them back. They have overcome this isolation by assimilating and declaring a range of influences that are immediately apparent across the eleven tracks on Echo Group. In naming their album one wonders if they were all too aware of the irony in the title as they do indeed echo their heroes. They are on the safe side of plagiarism but there is still a nagging ‘spot the influence’ temptation while listening to them.
The single from the album is ‘Children’s Society’, a mid period Modest Mouse sounding track complete with woozy tremolo guitar chords and Brock-ish warbling. ‘Astrologers’ Meal’ is The Strokes on a gentle rinse cycle, ‘I’ve Got Some Numbers’ could have come from the last Sonic Youth record and ‘House Grey’ carries touches of a monochrome Interpol, especially in the hands of bassist Mati Tubli. These comparisons aren’t meant as criticism, as they have chosen their idols well, but the lack of subtlety in how they have absorbed and reconfigured their influences makes for distracting listening at times.
The strongest string to their bow is the vocal and guitar interplay. Both search out high melodies and are always moving onto another phrase or peal of notes before predictability sets in. The two guitars playfully weave around each other with their earnest strums and bending notes, always on the go like a couple of kids with ADD.
While Madis Järvekülg’s singing keeps things interesting, his lyrics are a bit confusing to say the least. No doubt there is something lost in the English translation and perhaps they may have been better off singing in their native tongue, especially as the lyrics are indiscernible through most of the album. In ‘Twice The Size’ he sings ‘never, have never eaten rice/cause it doesn`t fill my stomach/never, have never been to china/cause there are people very ugly/never, have never gave to a beggar/cause they are not enough fuddled’. Even in the context of the whole song this doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the nonsensical words are intentional but I suspect not as they don’t add to the songs in the way that good abstract lyrics should.
For a debut record it is a very self assured one. The songs tumble along with good pacing, never too forced or rushed. They seem to have a good ear for the economy of a tune and the playing is relaxed. On their next release they need to build some depth into their songwriting and create their own sound. More touring and the development of their songs should see them move away from their influences and take them to a place where they are source of the echo rather than the repetition.