A couple of months ago I shamelessly plugged Eddie Doldrum’s debut release, World’s Best Dad, since my son played the guitar and mandolin on it. Recently the album was reviewed by Buzzbin Magazine, a regional entertainment magazine, so it only seems right that I share that review here.
Before I share the review, let me quickly say that you would not find Buzzbin Magazine on many “prim and proper” Christian’s coffee tables just like you wouldn’t find World’s Best Dad on their cd racks. But I’m a proud father and while I look forward to the day when all of my children use their talents in a more God-honoring way, I am still proud of their accomplishments and believe that God can be honored in a variety of ways. While World’s Best Dad wouldn’t be my first choice of music, all of the young men in the band seem to work hard to produce an album worth noticing.
I copy and paste the review here because I wouldn’t want to be responsible for what you may see on the magazine’s site. Also be warned, the review has a couple “bad” words.
It’s a lyrical sentiment that could sum up the plight of any northeast Ohio musician who has tried to defend the region through song. Rust Belt artists know the area’s scattered pockets of forward-thinking and optimistic people, who despite economic decline and population loss, are the ones building a future of exciting and important culture. And it’s those residents who wear their optimism like a badge of honor even when cynical politicians and outsiders try their damndest to squelch it.
So it comes as no surprise that the introspective folk revivalists Eddie Doldrum hail from the rubber-padded city of Akron. The band, which originally began as a duo between Hunt and drummer Ryan Sandy, has grown to include Jeffrey Steinwachs (bass) and Jacob Densford (guitar, mandolin). Bright Eyes, or Conor Oberst, is a large and looming influence on Hunt, whose strained, jittery and nervous vocal proclamations make every word sound heartbreaking. Take opener “Tearable Teeth,” for example, which kicks in it all at once with Densford’s mandolin mimicking the acoustic guitars and a catchy electric guitar lick. Here Hunt cries, “Everyday I’m getting better at feeling worse / Yeah, I call that progress, my sadness comes first / There ain’t no word that could bang a drum if it didn’t fucking hurt / Ain’t no way a little boy like me will ever have some kind of worth.”
The vocals sit front and center on “World’s Best Dad” and I suppose they should with such an intense and expressive singer. But more musical diversions would have been welcomed, especially since all five songs glide at a similar mid-tempo pace. Still the quiet-loud-quiet musical performances give songs like “Condolences” a rollercoaster-like dynamic that are textured with a mandolin that weeps, providing a musical sadness to follow Hunt’s lyrics.
From the oblique references to the folk-country revivalist spirit and bitter lyrics, “World’s Best Dad” makes for a suitable alternative if Bright Eyes’ last release left a bad taste in your mouth.
Listen to Eddie Doldrum at www.eddiedoldrum.bandcamp.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RYAN SHERIDAN: Ryan Sheridan is an intern at Buzzbin Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rsheridan.
If you really must, you can see the review in context here.