The Epochs, The Epochs
Everyone knows hype can be a double-edged sword, especially for brand new artists; it gives snobby skeptics reason to dismiss a band without giving an adequate listen. The Epochs have generated a lot of hype with their self-titled debut, and now I know why: an electro-pop gem like this, that demonstrates surprising range with a unique point of view, is bound not to go unnoticed.
The appropriately-titled “Thunder and Lightning” starts the album in dramatic fashion. Pounding percussion drives the song, and instruments constantly drop in and out. The chaos is…interesting, but also jumbled and busy. “Opposite Sides” follows up with a complete change in tone — mysterious, gentle and atmospheric, layered perfectly with the high-pitched crooning of the Holladay brothers. Next is “Love Complete,” the first single off the album and the song that most clearly displays the Epochs’ knack for instrumentation. It begins with a definite tropical vibe, then weaves in jazzy piano and disco-esque background strings, and somehow comes off both seamless and accessible.
Equally terrific songs include “Picture of the Sun,” “Mouths to Feed,” and “Right On,” all single-worthy in their own ways. The obvious standout, though, is “Head in the Fire.” It’s the opposite of the other songs — simple and straightforward, with minimal instrumentation and vulnerable vocals — but still equally intricate and well-crafted. The album’s flaws clearly surface a bit towards the end. “Stand Up and Be Counted” is hotel lounge easy-listening at best, and “Tug of War,” in which the first three-and-a-half minutes sounds like a bizarre remix of America’s “A Horse with No Name,” is flat-out confusing.
What the Epochs have in their favor is their distinct sound, blending beats and moods that’ll make your head bob along in confusion at first, then in admirable acceptance. And if the hype follows through right, we’ll be hearing a lot more of that sound in the future.