Have you wasted your weekend looking for a bunch of spry ladies with a strong view on politics? Well, look no further because the girls of Erase Errata are here to fill your monday with some cool psych punk with a message. The band’s track titles and lyrics of old, ‘A Thief Detests The Criminal, Elements Of The Ruling Class, ‘Another Genius Idea From Our Government’ and “Murder With Your Tax Dollars” speak volumes in that respect. Lost Weekend is Erase Errata’s fourth and again is expected show little subtleness towards socio-political issues, in a very catchy manner that is.
When profiling Erase Errata it is conspicuous the band’s studio performance since 1999 isn’t very exciting when it comes to the number of releases. Instead, Jenny Hoyston (vocals, guitar, trumpet, keyboards), Ellie Erickson (bass) and Bianca Sparta (drums) are very routined live performers and toured alongside other feministisch left-wing acts such as Riot grrl, Le Tigre and Melt Banana. On stage the group is famous for their improvisational spirit, blending psych, indie with punk, and, as a result, also attracts fans of Captain Beefheart, Minutemen, The Ex and Sonic Youth.
After three albums the band decided to go on hiatus in 2010. A few years later the reunited on Iowa’s Mission Creek Festival where they met local producer Luke Tweedy who simply told the girls to get to Iowa, jump into the studio and turn the microphones on. A weekend and a lot of empty vodka bottles later all fell into place; seven songs were done in draft and ready to be polished for a release under the name of Lost Weekend.
I’ve always wondered why at the end of an artistic performance people clap their hands. I mean, not that I’m against it, but how did this become a tradition? If you look at it from a distance the clapping of hands is a very strange way to say thank you. Lost Weekend’s opens with a song that addresses this, however in the context of handclaps used in a song. ‘History of Handclaps’ is a groovy opener that will probably find its way to the indie club scene with ease. Accompanied by free-jazz horns and, as Hoyston calls it, “an all-star cast of hand-clappers and back-up singers” the songs kicks in and eventually turn into one big reparative sing-along chorus “It’s the history of the clap… It’s the history of the clap”. Hereafter listeners are treated to more catchiness in the form of sweet melodies, tough bass play and quavery singing. Until the mid of the album is reached the catchiness is more of dissonant nature. ‘In Death I Suffer’ is an hooky song that contains a smart pallet of synth noise and horns. ‘My Life In Shadows’ feels like an introvert song of Deerhunter whilst ‘Scattered Means’ is drenched within the sing-speak angst of the bands earlier work. After this the level art-punk turns into more friendly form of punk. Alright, if you listen very well dashes of post-punk 80s retro-isms are still there on ‘Watch Your Language’. Still it is a poppy manner to address the dangers of today’s information-age, or it is too poppy for me though. Especially ‘Galvenston, Dark Tides’ suffers from the latter. So what else there is to say? Erase Errata newest scion contains tracks that are about three times longer than on the past records. Back in the days the girls didn’t had a long span of attention. Songs ranging from from sixty to ninety seconds were the usual standard. On Lost Weekend the band take the time to find a groove and letting songs evolve more.
Erase Errata’s hiatus caused the band to leave their youthful follies behind them. Compared to the 2003 released At Crystal Palace not much of the band’s waywardness is heard on Lost Weekend. That’s doesn’t mean Lost Weekend is of lesser quality. I believe they have learned to step over their own shadow and still dare to pick up things in their own manner. After four tracks in I however have some trouble to find some musical excitement. Yet, even within all this catchiness during the end the band still delivers a solid sounding album that easily can compete with Sleater-Kinney’s hyped No Cities To Love.
Label: Under The Sun, 2015
- History of Handclaps (2:04)
- In Death I Suffer (4:18)
- My Life in Shadows (3:13)
- Scattered Means (1:41)
- Watch Your Language (3:52)
- Galveston, Dark Tides (4:11)
- Another Reason to Arrest & Imprison the ‘Free’ (1:38)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 160215