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Purple Blue

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Album Review

Belying the Sonic Youth redux implications of their band name, Halifax, Nova Scotia's Eric's Trip (the title of a track from Daydream Nation) were more the epitome of Superchunk's noise-pop aesthetic. On their third official album, Purple Blue, shades of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Eleventh Dream Day, Pixies and Sugar all creep in periodically, but that's merely in line with the sound of most '90s indie rock across the continent, from Seattle to Chapel Hill. The Rick White songs are definitive noise-pop: short, concise, and roughed-up with distortion and occasionally eruptions into the Neil Young style of guitar pyrotechnics favored by J Mascis, while the Julie Doiron songs have the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics and sweet sing-songy vocals favored by Kim Deal and company. This is not to say the band is derivative, but a cursory listen to Purple Blue should allow even an amateur musical historian to place this album in context. The only anomaly is the "medley" "Introduction into The...Parts 1 to 4," an ill-advised song suite that's in reality a muddled hodgepodge consisting of an opening blast of feedback followed by an acoustic ditty sung by White, a dreamy ballad sung by Doiron, a fuzz guitar and brushed drums shoegaze samba, and a slow-motion piano-dappled dreamscape, all tied together with smidgens of lackluster audience applause that only serves to confuse the listener, especially as it's the album opener. The remainder of the album sets forth the band's blueprint of psych- and noise-tinged anthemic pop with just enough dissonance and dynamics to keep the mosh pit moving. It spans the gamut from My Bloody Valentine-esque waltz-time dream pop like "Universal Dawn" to driving motorik like "Sixteen Hours" to rollicking stompers like "Spaceship Opening." It's a fine effort, and in reality not as formulaic as one might think. And with most songs around or under the three-minute mark, if one track doesn't inspire there will be another one just around the corner. It will be a shame if history doesn't remember Eric's Trip in the same canon as their more illustrious peers, but the U.S.'s little brother Canada often seems to get the short end of the stick.


Formed: 1990 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

A product of the same Eastern Canada indie rock community which also gave rise to the superb Jale and Sloan, the noise-pop quartet Eric's Trip formed in Moncton, New Brunswick in 1990. The group, which took their name from a Sonic Youth song, brought together a number of longtime veterans of the Moncton scene: drummer Mark Gaudet first surfaced in the mid-1970s as a member of Purple Knight and later performed with the Whoremoans and No Explanation, while vocalist/guitarist Rick White and guitarist...
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Purple Blue, Eric's Trip
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