EATER CLASSLESS CRITIC FEARLESS
EATER The Album (The Label)
EATER HAVE always appeared a shade irrelevant. Whining/riffing on the outside in all the little clubs. A curio. Eater play lots of gigs, most of which have been notoriously numbing in their immature mediocrity, have released three singles, each one worse than the last, and now vouchsafe us THE Album. But does anyone want them? And does this matter?
It might be construed that Eater are genuine rebels. They are after all on an independent label. They have apparently resisted envelopment by virtueless manipulators. There has been no excessive media burst.
In their own way they are 'expressing' their comfortably tormented souls. Singer/lyricist Andy Blade whines out (limited idea of delivery) the type of pained Fifth Form exercise book scribbles we all self-consciously used to write casting a doleful ear to "Five Years" and "Sister Ray". The crude, blurred dark side of inexperience is presented confidently, as if it's all been done before. There's the bitter insulting of pitifully viewed and tight authority; the dumb low side mastubatory fantasies; the utter selfishness; the impatience to grow up.
Eater feel there's a place for all this in rock 'n' roll. Their appeal is nil. And for those who've found remnants of punk a fine means of exercise and don't give a damn about the tone of execution, Eater are too thin and weedy in their attack, not possessing the presence and dynamics of the biggies (perhaps because Eater were weaned on glam as opposed to heavy metal). Live they can perhaps get away with it by sheer volume, but on record they come over like chipmunks.
Which is of course charming. The tunes on this album are great background songs for scooby-doo type chases: breezy, ridiculous expressions. The album itself is quite charming. Such knowledge of early '70s riff/pop, a fair understanding of how to structure and lead songs within obvious limitations, bound with the results of a hard stare at the contemporary sounds of a year ago. Produced with sympathetic clearness by Dave Goodman, who creates a jet stream sound that's quite endearingly unique. It's a new bubblegum sound, perfect in its irresistible vitality.
There are sixteen tracks, all flatly one-dimensional and indistinguishable, and that I love. They dash hastily and with much irreverence through Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" (15), Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" and Bowie's "Queen Bitch", almost succeeding in spitting them out as anonymously as their own material. This is some feat. This is some defininition of 'classless'. None of their own songs are as fresh as their first single "Outside View", but they feature much the same ingredients. The squeezed guitar, jaunty bass, toneless vocals, predictable areas of exploration. Wonderfully disposable. Chance flirtations. Horrible singing. Shameful words.
What's needed is perspective. This is the first album by a young group. Current cynicism about anything deadend punk washes my views about it. It is well made. It has its moments. It's not absolutely thrilling, but it's certainly far better than the new Flintlock album, Eater's genuine contemporaries.
It is understandably a naive album, not least in the faithless, hateful statements it tries to make. The question is should they have been allowed to make this album so early?
No. "The Album" should be disregarded, but its promise kept in mind. Eater's next step should be to try some balancing of attitude, some intentional charm (then they'd be really threatening).
(Paul Morley - New Musical Express December 3rd 1977)