The Swirling Eddies
Harvest Rock Syndicate 1989
And now for the $64,000 question: WHO ARE THESE GUYS ANYWAY? I have a good idea, but I'll not tell. The Swirling eddies have appeared out of nowhere with a new album, Let's Spin. It is an invitation which should not be taken lightly.
4 points out of 5
by T. L. Faris
At the very least the Eddies are a whole lot of fun. The music is fun, the lyrics are fun, and the whole project is fun, fun, fun. To begin: There is a contest in which listeners have a chance to guess the names of the Eddies. That's right, Camarillo Eddy, et al. are not their real names. (Contest details can be found elsewhere in this issue.)
To continue: From these audacious beginnings springs forth an album that is more pure enjoyment than anything to come along in quite awhile. The songs have a wonderful sense of humor and irony. Take, for example, "Snowball," an instrumental track. How can an instrumental song have a sense of humor? By having the only lyric be the word "snowball" spoken by a woman in a breathy, husky whisper. It is like Charles Foster Kane saying, "Rosebud." I don't get it. I suspect that it is an inside joke for the Eddies. It is a riot.
"Snowball" is followed up by the funky and soulful "I've Got an Idea" in which the vocalist (you tell me which one it is) sings "Deep thoughts don't occyr to me/I'm not famous for my brain/But a log just dropped on my destiny/And love has fanned the fame/I've got an idea (I think I love you.)"
Camarillo Eddy, who has written most of the songs for Let's Spin, further makes fun of himself as he writes in "What a World, What a World," "I could stay in California - stay a little dim/But there is a light bulb on in my head/I might move out East to some college town/Study big thick books - turn my fortunes around/Roll L.A. River, roll and take me to a better world." It is ironic that the L.A. River becomes a metaphor for the River of Life. As anyone who has watched Adam-12 on TV or seen any of the hundreds of action/adventure movies could tell you, the L.A. River is a trickle of water in a concrete channel. See what I mean?
Make no mistake, though, the Eddies are not making fun of themselves and everyone else just to be making fun. There is an important message in these songs. We hear that, "We all need money and love/But when we get all we need, it's never enough... and the beast is slouching down Rodeo Drive ("Rodeo Drive")." While the singer of "What a World, What a World" uses an odd metaphor, the search for a better place, Heaven if you will, is genuine and moving. In "Ed Takes a Vacation" the Eddies pay homage to "the hard working joes/Who keep this country strong," the people who get little public recognition but are nevertheless very important in the whole scheme of things. These ideas and many more are handled with humor and with an understanding that we are all human and we are all together in the task of life.
While I cannot tell who plays which instrument on Let's Spin, I can tell that the musicianship is top-notch. One thing we can know for sure about the Eddies is that they know what they're doing. The percussion work is full of energy, it is inventive, and strong throughout. The bass line is clever and creative and it's played solidly, with assurance and authority. The lead guitar work is as sharp as a knife and has a distinct voice all its own. The keyboards are not overpowering but are integral to the Eddie's driving rock 'n' roll sound.
Speaking of sound it is easy to determine some influences of the Eddies' sound. There are hints of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, and even early Daniel Amos. Although these influences are present the sound is like no other band. It is the Swirling Eddies ownm and it is fun indeed.
Let's Spin is a terrific product from a new band, even if the band must be a little crazy. Join in the fun. Put Let's Spin in your CD player or whatever and let the Swirling Eddies take you for a fun ride.
CCM Magazine 1989
Now that you've all seen the contest and heard the hype, maybe you'll want to get beyond all that to what really matters; Is Let's Spin! a good record? The answer is... even with all the silliness and pseudonyms (look who's talking?), the Swirling Eddies have made a great, funny rock 'n' roll album.
by Brian Quincy Newcomb
While charading as a debut from a new artist, Terry Taylor (recently exposed as Camarillo Eddy) admits now that the Eddies gave him a new setting to work with recent and past partners in crime. WIthout naming names, it is still important to make the connection. Let's Spin! takes Taylor & Co. back to the beach country boy roots of Shotgun Angel, the good humor of Horrendous Disc, and makes a creative musical statement equal to the progressive works, Doppelganger and Darn Floor Big Bite.
All Fireside Theatre comedy allusions notwithstanding, Taylor is funniest and most poignant when seemingly tossing off a lyric like it just came to him. Take this line from Taylor's reflection on the end result of decadence and greed. "Rodeo Drive": "We all need God above/We all need a little more time/We all need money and love/But when we get all we need, it's never enough." Or this off-hand joke from the man who often fills his songs with poetic, philisophical reflections: "Deep thoughts don't occur to me/I'm not famous for my brain/But a log just dropped on my destiny/And love has fanned the flame," from "I've Got an Idea".
In the past, Taylor has worn the "I'm a fan of John Lennon" badge to the point of self-parody, here he recallse Brian Wilson in the Disc-like suite "Ed Takes a Vacation," itself the biggest clue to the remaining Eddies identities, and adds a Jagger-ish growl to one of the most distinctive and enjoyable voices in rock.
Musically, the Swirls touch much of Taylor's past; guitars recall recent Darn Floor histrionics and Jerry Chamberlain's Alarma-era melodic trill, while the rhythm section is tough, yet danceable, and the keys manage with a lot of body and soul. Strong arrangements, great vocal harmonies and the funniest songs Terry Taylor has offered us in a long time make Let's Spin! the big fun album to starty off the new year.
Go figure why these guys had to play hide and seek, but the real revelation about the Swirling Eddies is in the music, as it should be.