Back in the late 90s, one of my favourite past times was second hand CD shopping. Remember, this was a time before iTunes. Before YouTube. Even before JB HiFi and its large library of obscure and cheap CDs. For me, back then, the best way to discover music that was a bit out of left field was the second hand CD shops. My main tactic was to track down any one hit wonders I'd heard on Triple J and see if there was any gold on the rest of their album. And there was. Some of my favourite CDs were discovered on these expeditions. And chief among these was a band called Eve 6.
Eve 6's self titled album became one of my all time favourites. I couldn't understand why these guys were relatively big in America but virtually unheard of here in Australia. They became my favourite band. And then they broke up. And I was sad. However, after 8 years apart, Eve 6 have reunited and released a new album, Speak in Code. I was apprehensive. Would they be just as good? Or would this be an ill advised return?
Speak in Code has now arrived. And it is indeed worthy of my anticipation.
Mixed up emotions
Beginning with the opening track Curtain, Eve 6 deliver the kind of rock songs that I fell in love with 15 years ago. The guitar driven tracks get you moving and push you to feel the emotions dripping from vocalist Max Collins' lyrics. For me, the lyrics of an Eve 6 song are their greatest strength. For two reasons. Firstly, there's a joyfully twisted word play going on. The visual imagery conjured up with these words adds layer upon lay of meaning. In Victoria, Collins, in a fit of jealousy, imagines his girlfriend "dancing with a vampire to bilingual disco." Or in Trust Me "I'm the type of guy that can't throw very far but you can trust me." These are the kind of lyrics that get stuck in my head and I don't mind a bit.
The second reason I love the lyrics of an Eve 6 song is that they deal with complex, mixed up emotions. This is no different on Speak in Code. The songs are not just about being happy or being sad. They're about not knowing how to feel. About not knowing how to process emotions in new, adult situations. These are not the thoughts from an idealistic pre-teen pop star or a confident, mature adult. These are songs for those who've had adulthood thrust upon them, who are faced with situations they haven't been adequately prepared for. The lyrics of Eve 6 are about not about having all the answers. But that's okay. Because there's a stream of optimisim flowing through the entire album.
Searching for God
One of the stand out tracks for me on Speak in Code is Lost & Found. The song opens up with these words:
Heaven can you hear me I am calling from a land line
I need a good connection I feel like I'm losing my mind
The day is just about to break I think it's safe to say, so am I
The song is shouting out a prayer to (most likely) an unknown God. There's an honest desire for someone up there to be of help. To guide and protect. To make sense of this whole world. To offer direction. To lead us through this complicated world and bring us out on the otherside intact. The singer feels the burden of life, but hasn't given up hope. Because he's confident he's "gonna make it through another day." This is a great prayer. But it's missing the answer. It's missing God's reply. As a Christian, I know that in the end, everything is going to be fine. That's because God has promised it. And he always makes good on his promises.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
This is the true assurance for the Lost and Found. God will hear our prayers and guard our hearts. Because of Jesus.
Speak in Code, well... it speaks to me. There are times where I don't know what's going on. When I need someone to say "yeah, things are complicated, but everything's going to be okay." Speak in Code has been on high rotation on my playlist ever since the album arrived on my desk. If you're a fan of guitar driven rock that's a bit on the indie/alternative side, give Eve 6's latest album a shot.
There's a couple of swear words on this album and the film clips contain images some may consider too provocative. If these are stumbling blocks for you, this is not the album for you.