Reviewed by Andy Long
I caught the opening gig of EB's 'brink' tour in Cardiff in February which gave my appetite a welcome whetting for the purpose of this their (officially) third studio album. The first surprise at the gig was the sight of Charlotte swinging a red SG around for the opening number, "Deep Blue Sea" which also opens the album. It's a real stomp of a song continuing the Eden's exploration of rockier territory, it's catchy chorus, smooth harmonies and inventive walking bass line make it a perfect opener. It's obvious that Mowf is going to be a real asset to the band, he is an incredibly expressive and creative bass player, with a gift for sweeping fretless lines. With Charlie now settling more into the role of first guitarist and concentrating less on being replacement mandolinist the band are confidently exploring their new musical direction, the comparison to bands like REM that sprung up with "Mirth And Matter" has to continue here, there are also elements of Britpop beginning to show through and hints of progressive rock ("Stories") and jazz ("Desire Lines"). Inevitably, there will be a contingent of diehard roots fans who will not approve of this sideways shift, however they will find that there are one or two songs that reveal something of EB's "Roots" roots(!), "Almost Spent for instance is laid back, mandolin led number which lyrically looks towards the millennium and asks mankind if it is ready for some real change. "Big Regret" also has a bit of a jig feel to it and is a good fun song which went down well live. Amidst the more rock centred numbers are "Wrap It Up" and the album's outstanding track "Western Eyes", which is surely one of Paul's best ever lyrics, a fistful of angry questions. Overall 'brink' reveals EB as a band enthusiastically embracing new ideas, it is exciting to see them break through barriers in this way. As a band they still need to mature in their new ideas and that can only come with time.
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