Review: The Eisenhowers – Film Your Own Atrocities

Back in 2006, I had the pleasure of discovering ‘Almost Half Undressed’, the first record by Scottish act The Eisenhowers. Touching on some great cornerstones of literate pop – chiefly XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze – it simply had to feature in my “best of” list for that year. Two years later, the follow-up duly arrives and little has changed; the music still revolves around the wordsmithery and vocals of Raymond Weir but now he is assisted by more than ten other musicians.

Although the sound is understandably fuller (with backing singers featured on every other song), Weir remains the real hero being the sole songwriter and his vocals have a melodic and yearning quality in their own right. The bright, strutting pop of ‘Gathering Dust’ is a definite highlight whilst the spirit of Costello is recalled again for undeniably infectious pop nuggets ‘Reign Of The Stupid’ and ‘Less Than Nothing’. There’s no lack of ambition in ideas either. On centrepiece ‘1969’, he contrasts the TV spectacle of the moon landings from that year with today’s love for Z-list celebrities.

Sadly, the second half of the album witnesses decent but less noteworthy attempts to captivate the listener. It does contain ‘Being There’ though, a beautifully arranged wistful number about a disillusioned millionaire; infact, it is probably the pick of the album overall. Elsewhere, ‘Lighthouse’ and the piano-led ‘Janine’ are imaginatively produced but struggle to find memorable hooks; not something Weir could often be accused of.

Overall, ‘Film Your Own Atrocities’ isn’t quite as addictive as The Eisenhowers’ debut but it still makes a lot of the right noises. Weir also retains a happy knack for penning sweetly melodic material, coupled with the kind of acerbic lyrics which we’ve come to expect from the finest Scottish songwriters.

Web Sites:
The Eisenhowers Official Site
The Eisenhowers MySpace

Further Listening:
Elvis Costello, XTC, The Kinks, Gum

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