photo & text by nacrowe
there were a lot of POP PUNK pretenders back in the late 1990s and early 2000s chasing and emulating the likes of GREEN DAY and BLINK-182, but i think one of the standout (and contender) bands from that scene was the highly INFECTIOUS and strikingly LITERATE work of LOS ANGELES band EVE 6, especially their sophomore release HORRORSCOPE (RCA, 2000).
when i first heard this record sophomore year in high school i remember being taken aback by how dense and descriptive singer/bassist/songwriter MAX COLLINS was about the trials and tribulations of teenage life. that sentiment really spoke to me in songs like "PROMISE," "ENEMY," and "RESCUE" which all seemed to describe the psychodramas happening around me at an elite boarding school in MASSACHUSETTS surrounded by entitled peers with too much money and far too much privilege. looking back that experience was highly alienating and really set the tone for later career as an educator.
so in some ways this album, like the first THIRD EYE BLIND (review linked HERE) record was a soundtrack to this isolating period of my life. whereas STEPHEN JENKINS, another talented songwriter, really played up lush textures on that ERIC VALENTINE (SMASH MOUTH, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS) produced effort to convey a sense of world-weariness that matched the lyrical content, here COLLINS and guitarist JON SIEBELS play to traditional POP PUNK conventions in their DON GILMORE (LINKIN PARK, GOOD CHARLOTTE, LIT) produced record in order to create a real sense of DISTANCE and FRICTION between the joyous sentiment conveyed sonically and that of the WORLD-WEARY lyrics. i really love it when bands are unafraid to write that way as it may confuse their audiences, but what it actually shows is a SOPHISTICATION and CONFIDENCE to express a sense of AMBIVALENCE and DISCOMFORT with past events. case in point is the standout ballad "HERE'S TO THE NIGHT" which really nails a hard won sense of BITTERSWEETNESS that comes with the transitory nature of being young. i remember feeling at the time like being young was my time to enjoy life before adulthood caught up with me. like there was a pressure to act and be a certain way. i was pretty miserable.
looking back i think that HORRORSCOPE is an underrated achievement that got lost in the shuffle of all the POP PUNK bands that came out during that period. their intelligence and song-craft separated them in my opinion and i highly recommend them to anyone interested in POP PUNK as well as quality ALTERNATIVE ROCK from that period.
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