The Eisenhowers | Film Your Own Atrocities

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Interview and live acoustic set 1969 video Band website Myspace page Eisenhowers demo archive

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Pop: Power Pop Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Film Your Own Atrocities

by The Eisenhowers

Literate, tuneful and punchy adult pop.
Genre: Pop: Power Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Chinese Whispers
3:48 $0.99
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2. Gathering Dust
4:09 $0.99
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3. Reign of the Stupid
3:12 $0.99
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4. Less Than Nothing
3:46 $0.99
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5. After the Tide
2:43 $0.99
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6. 1969
6:17 $0.99
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7. The Things That Make You Happy
3:04 $0.99
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8. Aggrodisiac
2:30 $0.99
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9. Being There
3:25 $0.99
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10. Miles Until Morning
2:41 $0.99
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11. Janine
4:05 $0.99
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12. The Long Way Home
3:16 $0.99
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13. Lighthouse
3:33 $0.99
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14. Icarus Succumbs
6:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
When their debut album ‘Almost half-undressed’ was released in 2006, The Eisenhowers were compared to the likes of Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, Crowded House and Ben Folds.
This, their new long-player, has been almost three years in the making and sees them further develop their brand of literate and thoughtful pop.

As on the first album, there is a liberal sprinkling of dysfunctional characters. A suicidal millionaire takes first prize here on the skewed nursery rhyme of The things that make you happy, while there are songs focused on celebrity culture, domestic abuse, internet conspiracy theories and fatal attractions.

The Eisenhowers are clearly influenced by classic British pop and this album has at least a couple of ‘Ray Davies’ moments (notably on Gathering Dust and The Long Way Home). The epic closing track –Icarus succumbs- sounds like an attempt to recreate the mid-tempo balladic grandeur of ELO, while the Elvis Costello-esque Aggrodisiac is a gloriously brief and punky little observation on bondage and psycho-sexual trauma.

For all the smart-ass cynicism on show, the album still has some playful and romantic touches, exemplified on the stomping ‘Lighthouse’ in which the kitchen sink (and a bucketful of nautical allusions) is thrown at a Kinks /XTC tribute on the subject of fatal attraction. The middle eight is worth the price of the admission alone, as the military drum and stacked backing vocals drive towards a giddying psychedelic climax.

The production is often quirky and imaginative and there are some genuinely sparkling moments across the entire spread of the album; this is definitely not a record that has been ‘front loaded’ with three or four prime cuts.
It has a cast of what seems like thousands, all working around the vision of Raymond Weir, the chief songwriter. His vocals are the only constant on all 14 tracks and he appears to understand and exploit his own limitations. Three splendid female vocal supports are deployed pretty much throughout, while various contributions on cello, violin, guitar, piano and bass are tastefully managed and given plenty of opportunity to shine.

The Eisenhowers like to juxtapose dark lyrical concerns with sweetly-executed melodic arrangements and their use of the evocative phrase ‘Film your own Atrocities’ appears to be not just an observation on human cruelty, but also a statement about their preference for kitchen sink dramas, as opposed to big global concerns.

This is best demonstrated on the centrepiece of the album, the anthemic and extraordinary ‘1969’, complete with choirs, strings and samples from the Apollo 11 mission. It would be simplistic to state that this is just -as the title might suggest- a song about the moon landings, because it’s much more than that.

“The lyric describes an attempted seduction in a singles bar” says Weir. “The middle-aged protagonist in the song –who has this powerful, romantic belief in the idealism and heroism of the NASA space programme- is trying to pick up a vacuous, but physically attractive, young woman. He’s hoping, of course, for sexual gratification, but there’s an undertone of disillusionment and, bit by bit, the seduction becomes a signifier of his descent into parody and self-loathing.
He starts to contrast the state of the world as it watched the unfolding spectacle of the Apollo missions back in the sixties, to the state of the world as it is now. Depressingly, he sees a planet hooked on dumb-ass reality TV and the goings-on of a succession of utterly brainless Z-list superstars.”

If REM were to play this rousing number at the climax of their set, you’d see thousands happily wave their lighters and phones in the air.
With material of this quality, The Eisenhowers will surely consolidate their growing reputation for literate and tuneful pop designed for a discerning adult audience.

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Reviews


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Jon Leonard

Undeniably infectious
Back in 2006, I had the pleasure of discovering ‘Almost Half Undressed’, the first record by Scottish act The Eisenhowers. Touching on some great cornerstones of literate pop - chiefly XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze - it simply had to feature in my “best of” list for that year. Two years later, the follow-up duly arrives and little has changed; the music still revolves around the wordsmithery and vocals of Raymond Weir but now he is assisted by more than ten other musicians.
Although the sound is understandably fuller (with backing singers featured on every other song), Weir remains the real hero being the sole songwriter and his vocals have a melodic and yearning quality in their own right. The bright, strutting pop of ‘Gathering Dust’ is a definite highlight whilst the spirit of Costello is recalled again for undeniably infectious pop nuggets ‘Reign Of The Stupid’ and ‘Less Than Nothing’. There’s no lack of ambition in ideas either. On the centrepiece track ‘1969′, he contrasts the TV spectacle of the moon landings from that year with today’s love for Z-list celebrities.

‘Being There’ is a beautifully arranged wistful number about a disillusioned millionaire; in fact, it is probably the pick of the album overall. Elsewhere, ‘Lighthouse’ and the piano-led ‘Janine’ are imaginatively produced.
Weir retains a happy knack for penning sweetly melodic material, coupled with the kind of acerbic lyrics which we’ve come to expect from the finest Scottish songwriters.
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Ray

Blissfully Smitten popster
The Eisenhowers-'Genius is NOT Exceptional'

Shiny Happy people..light your lights and dance your dance!The Eisenhowers are back with 14 more delightful tunes to awaken your brain-dead territories and stimulate your feet.
Once again songmeister Ray Weir,Eisenhower-in-chief,vocalist and social commentator extraordinaire has seen fit to address our sensibilities and sensitivities using a mixture of great song hooks,fabulous tunes and virtuoso playing to guide us to the next stage of pop-evolution.Make no mistake, this is music to evolve to and dancing to revolve to.Lovingly insane song-hooks bed-down with genius -like melodies and outstanding musicianship in the 14 sketches awaiting you in 'Film Your Own Atrocities'.

As our Great Societies slowly dissolve and the politicians of the day helplessly watch our economies hit meltdown,the Eisenhowers have appeared on a sun-kissed horizon to teach us that great adult pop can overcome everything,with a song and a sneer.Highlights of this must- have sophomore outing include the witty-come-fabulous 'Chinese Whispers' , full of reverbarating witticisms and sly observations with a chrorus fit to open any album this side of Sgt. Pepper,a fabulous 'Less Than Nothing' which has opening chords to die for and an inventive vocal by Ray Weir which reeks of inspired -Costello and perspired-Tillbrook and the backward-look-to the -forward-future of '1969' which offers unique insights into 'the moon landings' and their effects on the stargazers who looked up but did not look inside.

The social vignettes continue throughout the album with 'Reign of The Stupid' (King Midas in Perverse ?),where Weir cleverly essays 'near-life experiences' with what we actually encounter in the daily grind,'After The Tide'(What do you say after-Hell-Oh? )and a nod to KInkdom -Come with a cracking 'Lighthouse '.

The Eisenhowers in this disc have continued to mind-map outside -our -heads observations with inside-our -minds analysis and combined them with exceptional music,vision,charming melodies and foot-tapping choruses.No comparisons with 'the other Elvis' and 90s Britpop are necessary this time around.The Eisenhowers have landed and made Planet-Pop their own unique territory-are you sane enough to explore it and brave enough to join in and singalong? Bring your own sneer and reward yourself with repeated listening.This party never lets up!

Further joys await you as you discover the wealth of great music within but remember wear your headphones,your very best dancing shoes and a knowing smile.When you listen to these songs,genius is NOT exceptional.Shiny Happy People..Dance!

Ray
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Matt McGowan, Bluesbunny

one for music lovers
The new album from Glasgow band the Eisenhowers clattered through the letterbox at Bluesbunny Towers. Front man Raymond Weir, a purveyor of clever tunes, has been promising this album for some time so, without further ado, it was put into the CD player.
Given that it has taken over 2 years to record this album, it is perhaps no surprise that it is all big production here, with every song stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink.
On the fourth track – ‘Less Than Nothing’ - the magic found on their first album resurfaces. As always, there are influences from the finest sources of intelligent pop music like XTC, Squeeze and the Maypops aligned with a nice epic or two (like ‘1969’).
Up-tempo numbers like ‘Aggrodisiac’ work well too, but the choice cut on the album is ‘Janine’ which is delicately seasoned by the suitably salacious piano of Giles Tingey.
There's a lot to enjoy in this album … a recommendation for music lovers with a bit of maturity in their tastes.
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John Izzard

Charm Offensive
Raymond Weir's songs first came to my attention via the Scottish band, Gum, and a little later with The Eisenhowers' debut album 'Almost Half-Undressed'. Whilst stylistically, 'Film Your Own Atrocities' covers similar musical ground to its predecessor, the whole package feels sharper and a natural progression. Raymond's love of the song as an art-form is evident in the opening track, 'Chinese Whispers', which confidently sets the pace with perfectly-judged understatement. Contrary to the American associations of the band's moniker, there's something very British about The Eisenhowers - think Kinks, Squeeze, Costello, Del Amitri as points of reference. I mention these simply to get you in the ball park (or given the point I'm tying to make, maybe that should be ground or stadium). In fact, the briefest audition of these songs should be enough to leave you wondering why The Eisenhower's aren't as well-known as any of the aforementioned artists. In all, twelve musicians are credited in the liner notes, between them covering fourteen songs. Everything is assuredly and skilfully played. The even-tempered arrangements are a perfect foil for the often acerbic, sometimes witty, and always right-on-the-money, lyrics. What little mercy is allowed to drip between biting song-lines is certainly not spared on the listener. At times, this joyous onslaught of musical charm is almost unrelenting. Jab, jab, left hook. Just when you think you've reached the chorus - BANG! - another hook. Want evidence? Play 'After The Tide' followed by the kill-me-again ballad, '1969'.

Even the very few songs which don't grab quite as much (or at least haven't yet) would be highlight tracks on many other an album. Put another way, if there's a contour line which denotes where quality begins, everything here is way above it.

'Aggrodisiac' is as frenetic as its title suggests, whilst 'Janine' carves a simple, catchy melody out of a mid-tempo rock beat. The penultimate track, 'Lighthouse', lifts the pace before a big climax finish with the impressive 'Icarus Succumbs', featuring some evocative cello playing from Christine Hanson.

Go the distance with this album. For every vinegar-soaked bruise, 'Film Your Own Atrocities' will leave you punch-drunk and happy.
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Aaron Kupferberg

How to win friends
The Eisenhowers made an impressive debut in 2006 with ‘Almost half-undressed’ and now, almost three years later, they have taken the next step in their maturing sound, in which the influences of XTC, Kinks and Elvis Costello are heard. The sound is richer here, with Weir getting the help of backing vocalists and sharp studio musicians, while the lyrical content has also taken a leap forward. Include the addition of violins and many instrumental effects and you get the idea. With 14 tracks, there are plenty of highlights. ‘Gathering Dust’ resembles an Andy Partridge song with looping melodies and percussive details, while the epic ‘1969’ is a ballad that goes through an astronaut's mind, full of both idealism and narcissism. The jazzy feel of ‘Janine’ is a great sophisticated pop ballad with little Bowie accents and ‘The Long Way Home’ is my favorite here, with just the right mix of all the influences and melody. It ends with ‘Icarus Succumbs’ an expansive epic along the lines of latter-era Tears For Fears. The Eisenhowers will win many friends with this literate and tuneful pop music.
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Steve Ferra

Thinking man's powerpop
Film Your Own Atrocities is a step forward from the debut, as they refine their take on the classic British pop of bands like Squeeze, XTC and The Kinks.
Frontman/songwriter Raymond Weir shares the sardonic sensibility of his influences, and ‘Reign of the Stupid’ does them proud with its biting Elvis Costello-style lyrics and its easy-on-the-ears Squeeze-style melody. ‘Less Than Nothing’ continues in the same vein, although with strings and more of an XTC influence. The disc's most ambitious track is ‘1969’, in which Weir weaves the awe of the first moon landing together with an indictment of today's mass culture, all in the context of a ‘Hey Nineteen’-style attempted seduction. At 6+ minutes with strings, choirs and samples of the Apollo 11 astronauts, it runs the risk of overkill, but Weir & Co. manage to pull it off.
There are plenty of other highlights: the Beatlesque piano pop of ‘The Things That Make You Happy’, the lilting, loungy ‘Janine’, and the Ray Davies-inspired ‘Lighthouse’. By the time things close with the epic, 6:43-length ‘Icaurus Succumbs’, you'll realize that this isn't a run-of-the-mill release; instead it could best be described as a thinking man's power pop album. Or to be succinct, I like ‘The Ikes’.
Read more...

Ray

Blissfully Aware!
The Eisenhowers-'Genius is NOT Exceptional'

Shiny Happy people..light your lights and dance your dance!The Eisenhowers are back with 14 more delightful tunes to awaken your brain-dead territories and stimulate your feet.
Once again songmeister Ray Weir,Eisenhower-in-chief,vocalist and social commentator extraordinaire has seen fit to address our sensibilities and sensitivities using a mixture of great song hooks,fabulous tunes and virtuoso playing to guide us to the next stage of pop-evolution.Make no mistake, this is music to evolve to and dancing to revolve to.Lovingly insane song-hooks bed-down with genius -like melodies and outstanding musicianship in the 14 sketches awaiting you in 'Film Your Own Atrocities'.

As our 'great societies' slowly dissolve and the politicians of the day helplessly watch our economies hit meltdown,the Eisenhowers have appeared on a sun-kissed horizon to teach us that great adult pop can overcome everything,with a song and a sneer.Highlights of this must have sophomore outing include the witty-come-fabulous 'Chinese Whispers' , full of reverbarating witticisms and sly observations with a chrorus fit to open any album this side of Sgt. Pepper,a fabulous 'Less Than Nothing' which has opening chords to die for and an inventive vocal by Ray Weir which reeks of inspired -Costello and perspired-Tillbrook and the backward-look-to the -forward-future of '1969' which offers unique insights into 'the moon landings' and their effects on the stargazers who looked up but did not look inside.

The social vignettes continue throughout the album with 'Reign of The Stupid' (King Midas in Perverse ?),where Weir cleverly essays 'near-life experiences' with what we actually encounter in the daily grind,'After The Tide'(What do you say after-Hell-Oh? )and a nod to KInkdom -Come with a cracking 'Lighthouse '.

The Eisenhowers in this disc have continued to mind-map outside -our -heads observations with inside-our -minds analysis and combined them with exceptional music,vision,charming melodies and foot-tapping choruses.No comparisons with 'the other Elvis' and 90s Britpop are necessary this time around.The Eisenhowers have landed and made Planet-Pop their own unique territory-are you sane enough to explore it and brave enough to join in and singalong? Bring your own sneer and reward yourself with repeated listening.This party never lets up!

Further joys await you as you discover the wealth of great music within but remember wear your headphones,your very best dancing shoes and a knowing smile.When you listen to these songs,genius is NOT exceptional.Shiny Happy People..Dance!

Ray
Read more...