Eddie from Ohio

I Rode Fido Home

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After the view of contemporary suburban life that was A Juggler on His Blades and the sprawling set of death ballads that comprised Actually Not, Eddie From Ohio's third album, I Rode Fido Home, was something of a surprise. The group's sound remained the same, from Eddie Hartness's congas and bongos to the harmonies of Julie Murphy, Michael Clem, and Robbie Schaefer, but the songwriting had become lighter and simpler. The story songs (complete with character names) were largely abandoned in favor of simple, earnest expressions of faith or descriptions of place. In part, this seemed to be because Schaefer, a less ambitious songwriter than Clem, for the first time had more songs on the record. He was content to depict a hot day ("This My Town") or sheepishly admit to a youthful folly ("The Bridge"), while Clem stuck to novelty tunes such as the coy drug song "Mistress Snow and Mary Jane Green" or "The Moons of Jupiter," in which the singer bemoans studying for an astronomy exam. In fact, there was a youthful tone to much of the writing, as if the band members were deliberately writing about their childhood. The result could be charming, but was also weightless.

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