By Jon Shina
What does it take to be original these days? When two roads diverge on a song writing path, do you take the path less traveled? EIEIEIO wants to take you sonically, perhaps, off the road entirely.
Released in early December, Gentlemen Stop! is the most recent release from band members Max Goldstein, Zosia Kochanski, and Sam Brivic on the NY based label Sad Cactus. Don’t try to put any of these bandmates in a box, because they all switch instruments and take turns emoting into the microphone. Not just musicians, these three members of EIEIEIO combined are a creative big bang burst of artistic energy in the Valley. Max Goldstien, who recorded Gentlemen Stop!, is also a band member of such acts as Fred Cracklin, Rong, and his solo project Maxshh. Sam Brivic, along with Max, were both in the band Tundrastomper, and Sam has his own solo project called Crimson Blue. Zosia Kochanski, who makes all of EIEIEIO’s music videos, is a multimedia artist who goes by the moniker Wishbone Zoe. She is also an animator, performance artist, sculpturist, poet and playwright. These three combined members form a supergroup of artistic creativity and boundless potentiality.
Gentlemen Stop! Is the band’s fifth release and their finest, slickest, and busiest work to date. This four song EP is extremely well produced and is a thoughtfully constructed studio work of art that at times feels part spontaneous combustion, part podcast, and part spoken word poetry. The album is a mix of varying instruments, musical genres, time signatures, vocal stylings, and even spongebob samples. EIEIEIO manages to thread a needle of making spontaneous music that at the same time feels intentional and timeless.
From the outside, Gentleman Stop! Is layered in bursts of thrash, attitude, and kinetic energy, but at the center of all this cacophony expression are three friends being silly and having fun. With so much musical energy blasting out of the stereo, there is still a great amount of humor to be had. The first track “Big Artist Man” is an accumulation of the past 40 years of post punk and post hardcore blended perfectly with a mix of art school rock and early Karen O like attitude and funness. The drums are BIG and the distortion is perfect. The mix is huge, and has great Steve Albini like production, sounding like a recording from the late 80’s/early 90s, but with a total breath of fresh air. There are surprises in this song, and the rest of the EP to come.
The second track “Mower” is a completely different turn. Sonically, a swampy grungier aesthetic with buried vocals, this song is a journey metaphysically and cerebrally. This track is all vibes, and has the slowest BPM on the EP. The drum playing is extremely impressive here, and you can feel the tension as the drummer tries to restrain and not explode with the usual EIEIEO energy. “Mower” would fit beautifully in various cinematic scenes of drug addled confusion and/or drug addled chillness.
The third track “Wah! (I’m A Little Baby Boy)” is a total outlier in the best way possible. Each band mate takes a turn exaggerating the song’s title lyrically, hinting at the many babies who haven’t quite grown up. Possibly more of a comedy sketch than a contemporary song, this track dances the line between sonic collage and comedic concepts, much like Ween or the Dead Milkmen. This track flexes the band’s electronic chops in an impressive way, editing vocals and silly samples masterfully. It’s a very fun song that is infectious and might very well get stuck in your head all day.
The last track “Dinner Table Philosophy” is the EPs Magnum Opus. This almost eight minute long transgression against pop music constitutes the bulk of the EP. This song is fun and loud. Even with its length, the track sticks to a cohesive and linear structure. The lyrics are more spoken word and verbal conversation than your average scream-o singinging by contemporaries in this same genre, all while still rhyming which is truly an artistic triumph. The song ends on a head banging plea to “STOP! GENTLEMEN STOP!” as if to break off the fighting and discourse of the nation or world at large, a herculean ending to chaotic knife fight where no one left standing alive and pools of blood are strewn everywhere.
This very dense and very fun EP is surprisingly catchy given its density and unconventionality. Although these four songs run just shy of 14 minutes, it is very easy to find yourself starting again from the beginning as soon as the EP ends. If Gentlemen Stop! existed on a 7”, you would play Side A, flip, play side B, play Side A, flip, Side B, flip, flip, flip, flip…..
Jon Shina has lived in and out of Western Mass his entire life and currently resides in Greenfield. He is the founder and runs the music label and online record store flower sounds. He plays drums in the Western Mass band All Feels, and he collaborates in the Brooklyn based electronic music collective ICICl (pronounced icicle). He has written musical reviews for such publications as Vice and Post Trash, and he co-hosts the underground music history podcast Bandology with Mike and Jon.
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