We have a lot of those “What were we thinking???” moments over in RNRF land regarding missed opportunities with new releases. Whether it’s the dreaded “too many tabs open” problem causing a release to get lost in a sea of promos or just a matter of running out of time before street date, we’ll admit that we regularly eff up and move on. In some cases, like today with Eddie Japan, we find ourselves utterly enthralled after the fact and will occasionally go back on our rule of not posting a review after a record releases.
You can blame/credit the 2023 Rock & Roll Rumble and Anngelle Wood for this post because, had it not been for the inclusion of Eddie Japan on Finals night which we were already covering, we might never have been inspired to revisit the beauty of Pop Fiction after seeing their stunning live performance! Anyway! The former Rumble winners of Eddie Japan have definitely been up to some stuff since their crown-winning performances in 2013 releasing a plethora of singles and albums as well as collaborating fairly regularly with Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Greg Hawkes on some live performances centered around Hawkes’ former outfit, The Cars.
That time spent with Hawkes seemed to have rubbed Eddie Japan the right way as Pop Fiction is definitely a record that inhabits the spirit of The Cars at times but also expands upon the band’s own sonic legacy. “Edward Descending” is Pop perfection simultaneously out of both the ’50’s and ’80’s with Emily Drohan’s croon mixing it up nicely in a call and response with David Santos amidst a huge bounce from the rest of the band that starts the record off in a high energy way that never really lets up.
“Summer Hair” is glistening gold with an all around solid rumble emanating from Chuck Ferreira and Charles Membrino’s respective drum and bass playing with Aaron Rosenthal’s keys creating a magical atmosphere to accent Santos’ own crowning croon while “If I Should Wait” is a burgeoning riff-fueled ditty courtesy of EJ axemen Bart LoPiccolo and Eric Brosius that’s a little like a modern take on Huey Lewis.
“The Dandy Of Suburbia” is a sprawling opus about a gigolo searching for one night stands at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, and Beyond that’s both moody and massive with a light shone brightly on Santos whose vibrant vibrato-filled voice tells the sordid story and then Drohan flips the switch leading “Undertow” towards some perfect Pop moments with a whimsical vocal melody to start before the handclaps and sing-a-long moments will surely entice listeners to participate regardless of their surroundings.
The first of two collaborations with The Cars’ Hawkes, “I Can’t Wait”, is filled with those signature synths coming at ya all futuristic-like as Membrino and Ferreira’s rhythm section hold the foundation firm from jetting off into space while both Santos and Drohan do their best to steer the ship upward with their vocal bravado. The second Hawkes collab, “Time Machine”, hits a little later with some New Wave meets Electro Pop precision that’ll make it hard to stay in your seat for but before that “Lost Weekend” comes in like a cool cucumber with some laid back Lounge tendencies to slightly temper the consistent upbeat tempo. Drohan and Santos once again trade off lines in “Walk Away” with each carrying the vocal weight equally, “The Pull of the Moon” is a haunting vocal showcase for Drohan that’s both elegant and ethereal, and finally “Rented Rooms (Edward In Hell)” closes up Pop Fiction with a kind of countrified down home come down after an elongated party.
Pop Fiction is out now on Rum Bar Records and will be celebrated with a record release party at Faces Brewing in Malden on Saturday, June 3rd with tickets available now right here. For more info on that as well as where you can secure your copy of the new record, head here and then make sure to follow all the Eddie Japan socials by clicking here, here, or here.
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