Eureka California

Crunch

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With their sophomore album Crunch, Athens, Georgia-based fuzz pop duo Eureka California whip through 11 blasts of punk-spirited and pop-minded minimal rock, delivered with equal parts deeply considered construction and tossed-off nonchalance. The band, made up of shouty singer/guitarist Jake Ward and metronomic yet spare drummer Marie A. Uhler, plays its songs with the same careless smirking approach as slacker legends like Pavement or the Replacements, delivering tunes with an aloof detachment that almost distracts the listener from how solidly composed these particular pop songs happen to be. The disintegrating guitar tone and tin-can cymbal crashes that grace more than one of these songs add to the lo-fi veneer of Crunch, but never really obscure the band's songwriting strengths. Happily, the slacker vibe leans more toward comedic impulses than smug disaffection, with hilarious moments coming in lines from tunes like "This Ain't No A-Side" or all 70 seconds of "I Bet That You Like Julian Cope," a song where the title makes up most of the lyrics, and the listener can decide exactly what they infer. The album speeds by almost instantly. Longest song "Art Is Hard" struggles without success to make it to the four-minute mark and sounds completely epic in relation to the minute-plus blasts of garage pop that surround it. Crunch gets by on attitude, delivery, and a specific sense of warmhearted oblivion that recalls the best moments of '90s slacker pop as it plays out like a summery daydream happening in a blurred imagination somewhere that heavy thoughts and harsh realities are only laughed at.

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