Eureka California put all the pieces together on their 2016 album, Versus, whipping up a thrilling concoction of indie pop and slacker noise that begged for repeat spins and heady accolades. The duo of guitar wrangler/main howler Jake Ward and powerhouse drummer Marie Uhler work hard to recapture that stroke of lightning on their 2018 record, Roadrunners, working with the same producer (MJ Johnson of Hookworms) in the same studio, utilizing the same awesome blown-out guitar sound (mostly borrowed from the Wedding Present circa Seamonsters), and crafting a batch of songs that have stinging hooks and loads of dynamics. Their work pays off just like they thought it would; Roadrunners is another modern indie rock gem. Kicking off with the stuttering "MKUltra," then rambling through 13 more songs where Ward takes a few layers off his soul while giving his guitar and amp a thrashing and Uhler pounds her drums to a pulp, the album is another rough-and-ready trip through the '90s guitar rock scene, only without any of the raised expectations or corny mechanisms of that era. There are unbridled rockers that dare you to hold on as they careen wildly, cute noise pop jingles, tracks that bubble and boil with fury (the great "I Can't Look in YR Direction"), punk wipeouts that are over almost as soon as they begin, and even a couple of sensitive ballads to keep the pot from boiling over completely. The sound these two get is pure and untouched by trends or commercial considerations, and from the first notes until the last amp fizz, they go for it with their hearts untroubled by doubt. Roadrunners is sure to give chills to any listeners who ever loved Butterglory, fell under (early) Pavement's spell, or secretly (or not so secretly) wanted to be David Gedge when they grew up. A couple more records like this, and in 25 years bands will wreck their brains and spend their energy trying to sound like Eureka California circa Versus and Roadrunners.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra