In the early '90s, when Columbus, OH's music scene had long been dominated by the beer-fueled punk rock the city affectionately coined "cowpunk," earwig was a fresh breath of dark, heart-on-your-sleeve indie/alt rock. Fronted by Lizard McGee, head of the self-described "micro-indie" LFM label, earwig plays a sincere brand of treble-heavy rock of which the most valuable assets are McGee's plaintive vocals, keen sense of vocal melody, and knack for writing consistently interesting, and catchy, anthemic lyrics. Playing as a trio, a staple of the band's sound are verses where the guitar drops out and the bass dominates the melody. With their 1994 debut, Mayfeeder, earwig established themselves locally as a strong outfit comparable to a more lo-fi version of acts like Superchunk and Sebadoh. While they've drawn the occasional spark of national attention, they've remained unable to break out of the underground, ultimately overshadowed by the Seattle explosion of the '90s. Markedly rougher production-wise than the 1999 follow-up Perfect Past Tense, and featuring more distorted guitars and rawer singing on McGee's part, many earwig fans regard Mayfeeder as being the better of the two releases as it more accurately captures the energy and emotion typical of the band's increasingly rare live performances. An even better representation can be found on Bored in Chicago, a 1994 live record long circulated as a bootleg that was released for the first time on CD by LFM in 2001.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Karen E. Graves