Monday, June 28, 2010

Album Review: Mark Eitzel – Superhits International

This was an album of demos recorded by Mark Eitzel in 1999 but never officially released, only sold on his 2001 tour. He has released several demo CDs, but this one is by far the most realised. Most of the others are mainly him and an acoustic guitar but this one features a full band on most tracks, and is definitely of releasable quality.

The Man with the Hole in his Foot appears to be a straightforward country-tinged tune, but it’s shredded toward the end by some blisteringly distorted guitar from Vudi. 1000 Miles is a fine song, featuring Eitzel’s classic yearnings for lost hopes and dreams.

Hold Me is a country song that sounds almost too obvious for one of Eitzel’s regular albums. It’s ‘perfectly’ constructed with a catchy melody, a strong chorus and typical country lyrics (“I know I’ll never be a rich man”, “hold me if you don’t have anyone”). Charm School on the other hand is like a classic 60s soul tune, full of slinky guitar. What keeps these songs from being nailed on ‘hits’ is of course Eitzel’s voice, which will never have commercial appeal.

The second half of the album by and large features more stripped down songs (Come In, Will You Ever Make Room At Your Table). Kristin Intro is a downright odd piece of electronica, featuring a female, presumably Kristin reciting lyrics to Barry Manilow’s Mandy amongst other things.

The final track, Tomorrow is the finest thing on here. Reminiscent of Sun Smog Seahorse from Eitzel’s underrated 1998 album Caught in a Trap, it consists of him singing plain and simply over some delicately plucked guitar, and it’s a thing of beauty.