The Eraserheads

Fruitcake

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AllMusic Review by

After releasing the massive-selling Cutterpillow in late 1995, the Eraserheads returned in 1996 with Fruitcake. On this album, the Eraserheads may have had an inflated sense of themselves, and Fruitcake heavily departs from the sound of the likable Cutterpillow, and is instead rife with dissonance and incoherent ideas. Fruitcake is a strange album, almost unlistenable at times. It should be noted that on the band's earlier, more accessible albums, the Eraserheads were often labeled "alternative," but that was because the Philippine pop scene is dominated by mushy, easy listening music along the lines of Perry Como or Barry Manilow. In the Philippines, anything in the nature of rock is called "alternative." Fruitcake, however, is decidedly "alternative," with no apologies given. Gone in most cases are the light, catchy melodies that the band is famous for, replaced by eerie, dissonant tunes and arrangements, as exemplified by the strange "Monovirus," a song about mononucleosis on which the singing and guitar solos are off-kilter, and the song lacks direction. Following this is an unneeded piano piece called "shadow@buttholesurfscom." Nonetheless, some songs contain impressive guitar riffs, including the punkish "Rise and Shine" and "Flat Tire." The band is often called the Philippine Beatles, and "Fruit Fairy" contains an extended closing chord in the manner of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life." There's even a snippet of the melody from "A Day in the Life" to close things out. A few songs are typical of the catchy, melodic manner for which the Eraserheads have become famous, and these include the acoustic-based "Fruitcake" and the electric guitar-driven "Trip to Jerusalem," the best songs on the album. Not surprisingly, sales of the album weren't as high as previous albums. While the band deserves some credit for trying to stretch boundaries, Fruitcake is the wrong album at the wrong time.