Eel Men


Eel Men Archetype / West Green Pirate 7″

Second 7” from this four-piece out of London. I wasn’t really able to turn up anything about the band, so I can’t tell you much about the players here or any other projects they’ve been involved in. In any case, they play pretty straightforward ’60s-influenced garage/psych pop. “Archetype” is a reverb-heavy number that sounds not unlike the slickest song you’d find in the STRAIGHT ARROWS catalog, except something about it sounds a little more intentional, like it’s been written by a pop band cosplaying as a garage band. It’s really giving me SUPERGRASS-channeling-BUZZCOCKS vibes. Same could be said of “West Green Pirate,” probably the better of the two tracks, which goes for more of a Piper at the Gates of Dawn sound and throws in a hook built around a “Be My Baby” drumbeat. I really don’t know what to think about this record. On the one hand, I want to say it’s really good—these are well-written songs that tick a lot of the same boxes a genuinely cool record would. But at the same time, something about it just left me cold. Like, I can easily imagine a world where one of these tracks appears in a Honda commercial. But that’s probably more on me than it is these dudes. So, give it a listen! Hopefully, you won’t have my same hang-ups.

Eel Men Live at New River Studios cassette

Short collection of excellent power pop/mod revival from this British band. If you like the JAM or even the KINKS, this tape will be up your alley. Catchy, melodic vocals with clean strummed guitars and basketball basslines, EEL MEN use the classic vocabulary of British rock music but create something fresh and immediately enjoyable. It sounds polished and DIY at the same time, carefully arranged but still drawn from punk around the edges. All four songs are jams (get it?) and I look forward to more. And if this was really recorded live, EEL MEN are a band to check out, because the performance is flawless.

Eel Men Are You There God, It’s Me / Meantime 7″

Smart and snappy art-punk out of London featuring members of TEN-O-SEVENS and THEE SPIVS. “Are You There God, It’s Me” is a piece of catchy mid-tempo power-pop-punk beholden to groups like ADAM AND THE ANTS and the MONOCHROME SET, while the B-side “Meantime” is more angular, with some delicious GANG OF FOUR-style slicing guitar. As their first single it shows promise, but it doesn’t do quite enough to set the EEL MEN apart from the current crop of clever UK post-punk guitar groups. That being said, I’m excited to see what they do next and if they incorporate a bit more of that nervous energy heard here on the B-side.