Someone previously said that rock is a young person's sport; that somebody was seriously mistaken. Few understand this notion more adequately than the brother's performing under the cognomen Euclayption.
Since they were young and listened to multifarious musical influences on CDs and mix-tapes, the Nissen brothers' talents for composition and island-influenced pastiche were inherently unique. They aimed mainly toward promoting dance as they swerved from cookie-cutter rock and eventually sprang onto the scene dallying in musical styles less endowed in the norms of contemporary music you'd find on the radio today. Now, with Ben riffing on bass and guitar and James corraling sun-kissed rhythms over the drums, the Houston-based up-comers have continued to expand on their infatuating mix of indie, reggaeton, rock, and hip-hop into a hodge-podge of buzzing sonic aesthetics they've trademarked under their own ambiguous title.
Since 2018 they've shown themselves to be at their greatest when practicing two ethea: exploring and making music on their terms and having a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Eucalyption's latest, "Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want," follows this same stratagem in a bid at winning-over fans' hearts; it stands as a testament to the playfulness behind their resounding set of songs, which never waiver from presenting as innovative, even with their nods at psychedelia, blues, and sometimes rap.
The opening funk-festooned capriccios of "Waiting" and the bounce-endowed "Pop Nonesense" represent some unexplored territory for the duo. They experiment with an assortment of styles here, they resist crushing music antiquity into insignificant aestheticism through stubborn cliché or become kitsch.
Songs like the robustly catchy "We Got" renders-up like a single from a fantastically quirky reggae-pop band; still, "Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want" carries the enthusiasm and anything-goes spirit of an enterprising of an indie rock band and crash lands that familiar vessel into new and exotic soundscapes. These cherubic, emollient swooning melodies and softly carbonated choruses could mellow into any Spotify playlists yet remain subtly, irreducibly balanced whether they're aiming for a spot on an indie, rock, or reggaeton inspired compilation.
With flurries of saturated guitars, pumping bass-lines, malleable synths, and soca-reminiscent rhythms, 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want' is an innovation-minded musical opus. If its references and influence are island, sun, and nostalgia, its genius is sequentially their own. The Houston duo has carefully corralled their touchstones with a meticulous ear to detail, and their honest approach stands true to the way this record reverberates uniqueness: each sound is serving the needs of the song, and moment, always eradicating any sense of sonic congestion through unnecessary noise.
The remarkably affecting "Keep On" sounds like a new-age hit by way of indie-rock with a gyrating mid-tempo melody and a frivolous bass-line that hoists a killer guitar solo as soon as the chorus simmers-over.
"Complaining People" stocks its saturated rootlets in a Reggae-invasion phenomenon—think Sublime with Rome with a bent for distorted hooks—as it plunges from fetching verse to an anamorphic flurry of grit for the chorus. Eucalyption's rock foundation manifests here and there, especially on the heavy-weighted "Susy Lee," and though it ties their musical manifolds admirably, 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want' lands more like a delicate blend of indie and rock with an injection of sun-bathed reggaeton, and a tendency to incorporate rhythms that lean towards hip-hop.
The piercing, other-worldly guitar echoes that drone and spray within the tumultuous grit-worn "More Love In My Day," comes garnished with the lofty thump of James's kick-drum, and as Nissen brothers decry about the lack of love people give these days, it's like walking into a hazed-out back-room of the hottest rock-club in town to see the first of a band who are destined to become stars.
"Try" stands as one of the highlights on the record, with all it's easy-going, smooth-stepping buoyancy attached to an anchoring cross-stick and a melodic cadence that puts an oddly wide grin on your face. There's no shortage of quirky reggaeton and ska-punk waving upstrokes for the verse, and when the hook shapeshifts into their rock-mirroring sonic passageways, it feels seamless, like the turning of a page into new but familiar branches of scintillating sound.
When you come to the Sublime-reminiscent sounds of "Breathe Deeply," where the vocals echo into the distant voids like evaporating steam rearing off the shimmering amps of a sun-kissed band playing next to the sea-side, it's like being transported a worlds-away. Before you get too comfortable, the song erupts, completely swerving into left field for an anthemic explosion that utilizes the grittiness of Ben's kinetically energized guitar to accentuate the deep meaning behind their song: chill out and breathe, man.
When it comes down to the final moments of 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want,' it's clear that the title is an ironic joust at the exact opposite thing you should be doing when coming across this record. Please do not ignore this album; get acquainted with it, learn the names of the songs, and understand that it came from a couple of chaps working on getting by like the rest of us; completing their opus while holding-down serving jobs during the pandemic.
As a farewell, a bon-voyage and a good-luck, "I Don't Know Yet," couldn't have shown up as a more pristine fitting serenade. With delicate extension from their trademark reggaeton and island infused groove into a pounding concluding "ooh rah!" Eucalyption takes hold of your shoulders and leads you into a parting venture that comes reserved with eclectic synth parts, banging drums, and an utterly infatuating top-line that vibrates in the center of your core and leaves the same after-glow a profound love song does. The transitions here are phenomenal and work to produce an emotional response from audiences that's unparalleled, with vocals and rhythm working in unison, bass and guitar unifying like stripes on a flag, and the all-encompassing synth turning heads as it passes by one last time.
To say that 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want' is a good album would be an understatement; the jam-packed, outrageously groovy, and harmlessly playful fun-bag of sonics found within Eucalyption's latest record should be talked about for years to comes.
Can you run us through how you managed to record a full-length, ten-song album while working as servers during the pandemic? What was the story leading up to 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want' and it's release?
Well, a couple of the songs we technically wrote a few years ago, but yeah we recorded everything on the album within the last year. "Eucalyption" started several years ago by me (James) asking my brother (Ben) "if you could do anything in life, what would you do?" And he replied, "be the bass player in a reggae band." And I said, "sounds good, let's do it." Since then we started trying to write songs and figured out how to record them, and I got better at mixing them. We would usually schedule some time together at the beginning of the week, which is when we would write together and record parts. Then as the week went on during our free time, before or after work, I would mix whatever we recorded and we would continue writing more parts for more songs. Luckily we live in Texas, so things didn't stay totally shut down for too long before we were able to go back to work.
If you could denote two emotions that you felt anchored the intent behind 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want,' which would they be? Do you feel like those emotions are now common-place in your musical process?
Perseverance, and Frustration. It seems like a lot of the ideas we write about are things that have frustrated us in one way or another for different parts of our lives. And then the other part is perseverance; the idea of working harder, doing better, enduring more, and never giving up through the situation. And yes, we seem to go through both of these emotions a lot through our music.
Were there any critical learning experiences you can recall during the production of 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want'? What were they, and how did you think you'll incorporate those lessons into your next records?
The main theme we've been learning throughout our entire musical journey is to never quit, keep going, and outwork the competition. These are themes we'll use in every aspect of life, including future music.
Are there any members of your production team that you feel played an immense part in the way 'Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want' turned out? Who are they, and how did they influence the way this record presented itself?
As far as music production, it's just me and my brother doing everything. We do however have some friends that helped us with different videos, Ben Pennington @benstache, Nikki De Los Reyes @niikkalicious, and Cesar Hernandez @theos_photo_studio. Cesar also took the album photo, and my wife Tara Nissen @taranissen designed the title words you see in the photo.
If you could give your audience a few impressionable words that would help clarify and improve the experience and intent behind "Go Ahead And Ignore This If You Want," what would you say, and why?
We think the lyrics speak for themselves, and we appreciate anyone who takes the time to listen to it. So thank you, everybody!