Eternal Youth sees the Future Bible Heroes hitting a wonderfully compelling and mature stride and never wavering from their romantic electro roots. A cute sleeve and gamey lyric transcriptions are here as on past albums, and the band is still playful through and through, but there's a gravity at work from the album's hazy concept of love and aging to its beautifully dark and rich arrangements. Though Christopher Ewen might be the musical brains of the affair and Stephin Merritt is the witty lyrical mastermind, Claudia Gonson is the heart and soul of the band on Eternal Youth. Her droll but pretty delivery is the band's new trademark. Besides providing every vocal, lead and background, except for two or three background utterances from Merritt on "Kiss Me Only With Your Eyes," her sweet swagger and confidence infuse the album with charm galore. Ewen has really outdone himself here, from his six cinematic instrumental interludes to the electroclash meets new romantic keyboard pop meets Hollywood musical mix of sounds he crafts throughout the album. Merritt is his usual curmudgeonly romantic self, offering up loads of lyrical highlights, such as "I would rather be the queen at the guillotine in a bloody insurrection...than be losing your affection" and "I am neither sweet nor sincere, and I'd rather drink blood than beer, 'cause I'm a vampire." Though Eternal Youth is strong from start to finish, the endlessly clever "Doris Daytheearthstoodstill," the stormingly humorous and catchy "I'm a Vampire," "No River" (Merritt's answer to "Climb Every Mountain"), and the tender "The World Is a Disco Ball" emerge as true highlights. On Eternal Youth, the Future Bible Heroes erase any idea of the band being a side project and work together as a trio striving for the same artistic goals. In doing so, they may have created their masterpiece.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina