Album Reviews

Handsome Eric/Maxamillian Raxatrillion – Split EP


Dublin’s lo-fi wonder Handsome Eric returns with a split and brings with him the upstart from the American Maxamillion Raxatrillion.

Handsome Eric brings the melancholy we’ve come to expect from him as he recounts the past year of his life. Every song is short and to the point with Stephen O’Dowd wasting no time in baring his soul and getting straight to the hook in each song. Opener ‘save yrself, kill me quickly’ is a break-up song that captures the awkwardness of feeling glad that you haven’t been strung along but also pissed off that someone can’t see how great you are. All tinny guitars, crashing cymbals and distorted vocals; this song pulls the listener into Handsome Eric’s to where it feels like you are in the garage with him as he lays down a track he’s been working on. ‘paddy goes to genos’ is an end of summer anthem for those that know the “endless summer” comes to its eventual end. The opening guitar drags the song along at its pace until the bass and drums lift the song to a pacier number that brings to mind Wavves at their most distorted.

Maxamillion Raxatrillion is an unknown entity, at least outside of Philadelphia. Instead of the garage lo-fi of Handsome Eric we have a band that have an air of a Guided By Voices that grew up with Brand New in their headphones. ‘rule of thumb’ follows the tone of the vocal harmonies as the song rises and falls with the tone of this break-up song that ends on the hope of finding love despite it being “an indefinite harmony of living things”. One thing that is especially deft on Maxamillion Raxatrillion’s tracks here is the lyrical turns. There are hints of a very adept lyricist emerging with lines such as “I absolved my x-marks and tried again/What’s wrong with good intent?”, “You took a concentrated dose of my concentration/I watched my mother’s patience limp out the door” and “That the fingers I’ve crossed cannot cancel the cross that we bear”. The shades of Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus are evident here too in the wit and turn of phrase.

The whole EP is only around 13 minutes long with the longest track being ‘paddy goes to genos’ at 03:00 exactly. The only complaint aimed at the output here is that it just flies by. But to complain about wanting more is hardly a bad thing. Both artists capture the fickleness of the millennial but without coming across as sneering. They embrace the clichés of their songs whilst subverting this through the awareness that nothing they feel or do is unique anymore. With the EP’s themes being so closely linked it raises the question of whether the two acts planned the EP to capture this or if they are so similarly minded that this all just fell into place. Either way these are two exciting acts that could produce some of the most interesting stuff to come out of a genre that’s enjoying a renaissance of sorts at the moment. James Trotter

Split can be downloaded at a price of your choosing, or for free, from Handsome Eric’s Bandcamp