Expect the unexpected.

If there’s one disclaimer that should accompany all of the releases by eight-piece Melbourne band Eagle & The Worm, it is just that. Since 2009 their aim has been to push pop to weird and uncharted territories. It’s one that’s worked, earning them a legion of fans and their new EP; Strangelove looks poised to achieve more of this.

Frontman, Jarrad Brown was halfway through writing a 40-song double album (the follow-up to their much-lauded debut LP, Good Times) when he scrapped the idea. He instead wrote five new songs that basically show a bunch of talented musicians who clearly have a good handle on their instruments. They also sound happy doing exactly what they do, shaking things up and genre-hopping with aplomb so that smooth lounge numbers can sit happily alongside southern rock ditties and spaced-out psychedelic jams.

“Angela’s Lonely Heart” is a light track, which will make you want to jump up, shake and shimmy. The music resembles a few different groups from the nineties, most notably The Beta Band. On the following single, “Darling Let Me In”, this is the appropriate time for the guys and a gal to crack out the brass section (instruments that have seen them being compared in the past to The Cat Empire). This all adds a nice dimension to the sweet acoustic guitar and is all about melody and calm as Brown sings about how wonderful music is and how great it can make you feel.

The set is completed by some 80s-inspired, chiming pop (just think of any John Hughes movie) in “Give Me Time” while “What You Looking For” has a groovy, intergalactic vibe. As you listen to the latter song it is an interesting ride and not at all surprising to learn that the group had previously cut their teeth by playing with a number of different Melbourne artists, including a swing band.

Eagle & The Worm are a bold and imaginative lot of youngsters who have charm and sun-drenched exuberance in spades. Their music is full of a variety of impressive colours and textures which has seen them likened at different points to their influences (The Beach Boys, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones) even though they are certainly not out of step with their peers like Ball Park Music and the John Steel Singers. Strangelove is delightfully chaotic and ramshackle, and you know the future will be bright for this talented bunch because they treat their music like a grand pop odyssey through all sorts of amazing and strange dimensions. Nice.

Originally published on 8 November 2012 at the following website:–the-worm-ndash-strangelove-ep-08112012.html

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