It’s unlikely anyone expected that Eve 6, the alternative rock trio famous for the “heart in a blender” song (“Inside Out”) and early 00’s hit “Here’s to the Night”, would become cultural beacons in the year 2020. Lead singer Max Collins’ Twitter blew up thanks to his honest stories and thoughts on fellow 90’s bands, opinionated thoughts on cultural and political topics, and the occasional random non-sequitur. While the purpose of this increased Twitter presence was to bring attention to the band’s new music, it appears to have become a monster unto itself that may overshadow the band’s new tunes.
Well it shouldn’t, cause their new EP Grim Value slams like a punk rock smelling salt waking up your senses and throwing you back into the days of dingy basement shows and mosh pit camaraderie. The five songs here are a revitalizing transformation for the group, and it’s clear they are feeling more free and having more fun on this album than they ever have.
When first single “Black Nova” was released months ago, it took a moment to process. It sounded nothing like the group’s previous work, relying heavily on a dark bass rhythm before kicking into raging guitar riffs and Collins’ deeper baritone singing about alcoholics asking for Corona beers while being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. On repeat listens, I started hearing Iggy and the Stooges in the spirit of the new song – that dirty 70’s punk with far out lyrics that make an impact in their guttural simplicity and clever juxtaposition. And give credit to the group – no matter how far from corporate rock they’ve gotten, they still know how to write in an ear worm hook (I’m of course referencing the hypnotic spoke-sung “It gets turbulent” chorus).
Though the songs are filtered through a scuzz-punk filter, there’s a surprisingly romantic streak at the heart of these tunes. While the rabid Ramones-style ripper “I Wanna Bite Your Face” may not make future Valentines Day playlists, the track’s essence is the inner conflict between romance and lust, as Collins counters the title’s viciousness with “I want to buy you roses”. It’s the inner monologue of a mind messed up by desire, and the track is an adrenaline-fueled romp. The same can be said for second single “Can We Combine”, where Collins lists off the traits he likes of the person he’s infatuated with, before reveling in a screeching “Can we combine?”. It will be a great track to shout along to in concert.
The most power-pop track on Grim Value is “Angel of the Supermarket”, which speeds along on an upbeat riff and is delivered with a fast and free joy. The track is practically angelic when sat next to “Good for You”, which opens a bit murkier, though no less spirited. Collins’ train of thought lyrics have always been a stand-out of Eve 6 songs, even when they have no easily visible relationship (“I just got out of a relationship. I should have dual citizenship” is one example in this closer). Yet the track is clearly meant to be a simple punk singalong, with an audience chanting “I could be good for you” and not worrying too much about the rest.
Grim Value is a great, consistent and cohesive collection and accomplishes what the band clearly set out to do. Those who were only fans of the band from their famous prom ballad may not vibe with this direction, but those who do will have a blast on this ride.
Take a listen to the new EP below!