Back in 2012, John O’Callaghan of The Maine put together a side-project with Eric Halvorsen (A Rocket To The Moon), Jared Monaco (The Maine), Ryan Gose (This Century), and Trey Nickelsen. In March of 2014, the band released a self-titled EP, Eagles In Drag.
The album kicks off with “Pretty Girl Monster,” and it’s immediately evident that, even while sharing two members, The Maine and Eagles in Drag are two completely separate bands. The bubbly pop tunes we’re used to hearing O’Callaghan sing have been weighted with a heavier tone, tons of reverb, and dark bass and drum parts. The next track, “Dog Days” is not as dark, but still keeps the edge by keeping the distorted vocals, similar to those of The Black Keys, and heavy bass lines.
Right in the middle of the EP lies the song “Buzz” which slowly fades in to an exotic-sounding guitar with O’Callaghan’s vocals sitting cleaner and clearer atop of it than in the previous tracks until around halfway through the song, where his vocals are put on the back burner and blend neatly into the repeating drum and guitar until the end. The song acts as a sort of “intermission” as the next track, “One Four Six” comes right back in with a heavy guitar riff and that dragging, weighted feeling that was felt earlier on the EP.
Last track, “Black Dolphin” also comes in with a strong, catchy guitar riff that repeats through most of the song. It’s then joined by the drums, and later, the vocals with the same tone as heard on the other songs. As the longest song on the EP, it has a section where a news station is playing on top of the instruments, it remains incoherent chatter until the end, when it’s the only thing left, ending the entire EP with the words “Sorry, we seem to be, for some inexplicable reason, unable to contact correspondent Gunnar Back in Washington.”
The entire EP is simple, using riffs that repeat over and over again. Yet this simplicity is what brings about the great feeling to it. It has a sound that’s edgy, but also qualifies as easy listening. In other words, it’s great music to walk down the street in the dark and pretend you’re a badass to. You can stream the album on 8123’s Soundcloud and buy a copy of it here.
LIYL: The Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, and, of course, The Maine, This Century, and A Rocket To The Moon.