By Andy Frisk
June 2, 2010 - 19:05
When Seattle rock natives Pearl Jam were laboring under the massive promo push launched by their (then) record label, there were some crazy slogans thrown around in a few of the early ads for Ten. One, which the band thought was hilarious and clichéd (according to Kim Neely’s classic Pearl Jam bio Five Against One: The Pearl Jam Story) blared “Pearl Jam: This is Your Life on Toast.” The guys in Pearl Jam, being smart and ironically inclined, laughed it off when they discovered that this ad actually was printed. Hopefully, fellow Seattle rock natives Kirby Krackle will forgive me for describing their immensely strong, catchy, and quite simply great album E for Everyone with a clichéd slogan of my own, but when I listened through the album I couldn’t help but think, this is the soundtrack to not just superhero comic geekness, but to life experiences in general metaphorically. Hence, E for Everyone is "Your Life in Panels." (ouch…)
First off, E for Everyone is a great sounding album of songs in the vein of what has become known as Geek Rock (a term, like grunge, that is rapidly becoming a cliché in and of itself). Kirby Krackle (like fellow Geek Rockers, Barenaked Ladies, Weezer, and They Might Be Giants) definitely display the songwriting chops and musicianship to rise above the subgenre of Geek Rock and ascend into the category of Great Rock (much like my beloved Pearl Jam ascended out of grunge). Jim Demonakos (what a freakin’ cool name for a rocker) and Kyle Stevens manage to capture with their solid rhythms and inspired riffing, an emotional quality to the stories of Wolverine (“On and On”), a hero who’s yearning to be himself (“Secret Identity”), the hero who’s just trying to fit in (the hilarious “Great Lakes Avengers”), and the Green Lantern (“Ring Capacity”) that is captured the way only great music (great rock music) can.
There’s more to E for Everyone than just great rock songs with cool comic book and video game inspired lyrics though. This becomes evident through repeated listening. Take “On and On” for example. The chorus, which is a repeating litany of each day of the work week’s grind (“Monday comes/Fly to the Savage Land/Tuesday rooftop battles with a gang of Hand/On and on and on it goes…”) is about the fantastic adventures of Wolverine, but when considered metaphorically, who among us doesn’t face a weekly, and even daily grind that feels like were living a “stack of lives/I hardly know” as they blur into one another and rush by until we get a reprieve from our own daily grinds when “Friday night” comes and we “get drinking” with friends and “talk and share stories from long ago?” We might not battle the Hand or have to fly to the Savage Land, but we do have to face our own daily battles at work, along with unwanted business trips and the like, so we can empathize with Wolverine. After, all aren’t all great stories great because we can empathize, at least metaphorically, with their protagonists? Yes they are, and the same goes for great music and lyrics.
“On and On” isn’t the only song to strike an identifiable chord with its listeners. “Secret Identity” discusses, with a good deal of humor as well, the joy a crime fighter/secret super hero feels when he launches out of his secret identity to battle evil after he tucks the “kids in bed” and kisses his “wife on the head.” Again, might not a secret identity be a metaphor for a hobby or secret desire or dream? Kinda like when a guy who has a demanding day job gets away from it all (mentally at least) by taking up writing about some things he really loves, namely comics and occasionally music? (Okay, so I identify with this song…)
The above are just two of the eleven great songs on the album that not only rock, but rock intelligently and humorously. Again, Kirby Krackle’s tight musicianship and up tempo to slow ballad type rhythms and guitar riffs simply serve to reinforce that, like great comics, great music can (and does in this case) tell great stories as well. Check E for Everyone out, and you might just see your life reflected in the mental panels of the songs.
Rating: 8.5 /10