Review Rewind: Eureka Farm-The View
1,405. that’s how many local recordings have been reviewed in What’s Up! over the last 15 years. Some good, some not so good, all offering something to the local scene and in these pages. A review was and will always be a band’s chance to get some press and show folks what they are doing. If a band lives around here, or on a local label, we review it and have never turned anyone away if they met one of those qualifications. Among the recordings reviewed, a few really stood out for one reason or another – it might have been how good it was or the impact it had on the scene or the statement at that time. This issue, we re-reviewed 15 of our favorite records over the last 15 years (and included a blurb from the original review) and talked not just about the music, but why the recording is important in the music scene’s history. Every one of these recordings should be on your iTunes, find ‘em, listen to ‘em, love ‘em. We do.
October 1999: The songs are long, unorthodox, quiet, noisy, lulling, disturbing, sad, explosive, gorgeous, and more then anything else, moving. The View is an amazingly beautiful record that challenges everything that came before it while at the same time becoming an important new addition to music history.
Before his time as the drummer of Death Cab for Cutie, Jason McGerr was in the brilliant prog-pop quartet Eureka Farm along with Arman Bohn (guitar/vocals), Chuck Keller (bass) and Dave Snyder (keys/sax) (incidentally, in Eureka Farm’s original incarnation, called Shed, Nick Harmer of DCFC played bass while Ben Gibbard was on drums).
Like most of the records on our 15 records that mattered list, Eureka Farm’s The View (released on Stone Gossard’s Loosegroove Records) stands above the rest in it’s uniqueness and quality. It’s a stunning and beautiful piece of art – recorded out at Eureka Farm, Armon’s parents place in eastern Washington, the quartet worked at capturing the sound, a vital piece of their songwriting. Songs and instruments within the songs were recorded at different locations – in the barn on the farm, drums recorded in the gym of the local high school – whatever it took to capture the right sound for the song was what was done.
That care and attention to detail comes through in all aspects of The View – it is flawlessly recorded and the musicianship is equally perfect (as you’d expect with Jason on drums). But, in the end, it’s the songs – dark, delicate, haunting, puzzling – the words to describe the album are seemingly endless. The songs are expansive and beautiful, the rhythmns are interesting and everything has a hook that lands in the auditory cortex and doesn’t leave.
The View is a snap shot of a band at their creative peak, where they have that unique ability to sense when instruments come in and fade out, where a vocal harmony should rest, where noise should disrupt the transquility – all those subtle nuances that separate a good band from a great band.
Unfortuantely, this album would be it for Eureka Farm. After some touring, including a string of dates with The Rentals (Matt Sharp’s post-Weezer band), Armon moved back to Eastern Washington and the band called it a day.
And like most bands in our 15 list, it’s a tragedy they couldn’t continue on.