The Oh Eeks (I am going to have to ask them what the h-e-double-l kind of name that is for a band and where they got it) bring driving alt-rock. It’s got a bright edge (with dark moments here and there) and smartly spun lyrics. The musicianship is right on the money, making the most of first-rate material written by Johnny Park and arranged by Daniel DeMuth. They’re more than a bit reminiscent of Gin Blossoms with a hint of Bryan McClean (from seminal alt-rockers Love), but make no mistake—there’s no shortage of originality.
If you’ve got an ear for wry, caustic sentiment and a sharp turn of phrase, the Oh Eeks are for you. An example from the song “My Dear Conspiracy” off their CD debut Greater Than Magnets: “Find a man on the Internet that can pay for all the bills you get/ The take-out, the cigarettes, and the rental cars/ Don’t you know where your 20s went/ Cause you’re gettin’ old and you’re feelin’ it/ Must have lost all the time you spent in pick-up bars/ Must have burnt it up with all the shoes you charged.” Leading into a chorus that goes, “Save up the nickels and the dimes, we still got credit at the store/ County orange and state time, wouldn’t be enough to know for sure/ That tomorrow’s comin’ fast/ You should clean up your act.” Not exactly what you’d call overly sympathetic. Then, there’s one of my absolute favorites on the album, the singularly sardonic “Singing in the Middle of the Night,” which goes, “Dennis is a blackbird and how he sings so pretty/ Hilary’s a dreamer but dreams don’t make money/ They both talk in their sleep/ As we roll up our sleeves/ And laugh with the greatest of ease/ At two battle-tossed lovers in their chemical comas/ Whispering at each other from across the room.”
A description at the band’s website states, “The Oh Eeks are a mismatched pair of socks you keep because there is a story to them. They remind you too well of gym classes and fondling, and, you’re convinced, if you throw them out you’ll never feel that awkward pubescence again. They are the face of an old regime, a rebirth of our visceral response to sharp metal objects and vodka soaked carpet. They are a sound which smacks of dirt and sweat and the sweet-butter smell of feet. But in the end, they are just another pair of socks with their thinning cotton holes begging to be darned by a female hand…Not even a pair really, just socks. Independent of each other entirely, being joined only when you compulsively group them together in your instinctual grasping for nostalgia.” Well, I still don’t get it. For my two cents they may as well have gone ahead called themselves something a bit catchier. Or, at anyrate, more straightforward. Maybe somewhere along the lines of Four Guys Who Make Fine Music and Come With Dynamite Lyrics to Boot.
By any name, they are at Hell’s Kitchen on July 24th for the release show to launch Greater Than Magnets. The album costs six bucks and it’ll be six bucks well spent. Bring the rest of your wallet, too, ’cause the grub at Hell’s Kitchen ain’t half bad at all.