Fans of deliciously hooky Britpop (by way of Brooklyn) have a new best friend in Bryan Eich, whose debut, Sleeping By a Wire, just landed at CD Baby. It’s so new it hasn’t even hit iTunes yet, but even if you normally prefer downloading to buying silver platters, you may want to make an exception in this case. The album’s that good. I, for instance, am not generally a fan of Britpop — deliciously hooky or otherwise — but I’m powerless against Wire‘s charms. And my stereo? She wants to have Bryan Eich’s babies.
Your mileage will vary based on how original you ask your favorite bands to be. Eich’s songwriting is deeply derivative, so if you’re looking for someone to reinvent the wheel, you’re liable to spit this out half-chewed; similarly, if you’re demanding when it comes to lyrics, this record will probably have a few dozen too many “baby”s to suit your tastes. You could say Eich elevates imitation to an art form here, and mean it as either a compliment or an insult. (I’m 100% in the former camp.)
The album’s an indie production in every sense of the word — it was written by Eich and produced by the band (Eich, drummer Eitan Graff — who also handled most of the mixing — and utility infielder Assaf Spector). Eich even handled the artwork. Not bad for something that occasionally sounds like the best record Oasis never made.
The lyrics aren’t prizewinners, but Eich’s voice is pleasantly elastic, the hooks come fast and furious, and the production is appropriately top-heavy and clean. The album stumbles a bit toward the middle — I could have done without “Lost” — but don’t let that stop you. Start off with “Big Fish” (download) and “Can’t Wait for Long” (download) and then go order yourself a copy.