Band of the Week (Week 2) – Eureka Machines

Monday, 13 January 2014 | By | Add a Comment

Eurekas

Many, many moons ago I used to troll about this fair island of ours with a bunch of miscreants called Phluid. We achieved a very modest degree of success and infamy, especially in our local area – we were banned from every live venue in Selby except one. Not bad in rock n roll stakes.

During this time we played with many bands from the area in which we lived, as well as many from around the country, and to be fair we never really felt any of them came anywhere near us in terms of song writing and playing … yeah, we really were that arrogant.

But, one day, whilst playing a local pub we met a bunch of lively young characters called Catylyst (sic) – they were, as most local bands are/were, a shambolic mess of youthful energy and over-eager egos … but the songs were pretty special, the band were good fun and great to get on with …. Plus, the lead singer/guitarist was a diamond of lad – even at that young age.

That lad was Chris Catalyst – can you see where I’m going with this?

You could see something in Chris that made him different – I was quite a bit older than him but didn’t hesitate in inviting him to mine for dinner and treating him as a friend (he may have a funny story about asking my wife and asking her  to reveal something about her self Chris didn’t know) – he was respectful and worthy of respect for not only his skill as a musician, but as a person too.

Then Chris did what local musicians do if they are clever – they grow up and move away.

I always kept in touch and was always interested in what he did.

Robochrist was, quite frankly, mad genius – and when Chris told me he’d joined The Sisters of Mercy I nearly had a little cry!

But, what I wasn’t ready for, but actually totally expected, was for Chris to form one of my favourite bands of all time ‘Eureka Machines’.

Eurekas were four blokes with Chris at the helm – the equally lovely local lad Davros on rhythm (Dave was in bands that played with Phluid, most notably Then There Were 3 – not quite Catylyst I’m afraid. Actually Dave may have ended up in Catylyst if I remember correctly), Wayne Insane, a drummer of incredible energy and skill, who actually lived up to his name (NB – does a good Sheppard’s pie too), and Steve Morricone, of Leeds underground giants Scaramanga Six, adding bass and lush harmonies.

Wow – the song writing skills, the harmonies, the image – fuck me, it’s all here – the Bowie-esque levels of attention to detail blew me away and prompted the missus to say, after hearing the first album Do Or Die, ‘Why isn’t Chris the most famous person in the UK?’

That first album is a tour-de-force of pop punk brilliance – shades of the Wildhearts (Chris was always a Ginger fan) with nods to The Cardiacs, and even Jellyfish and Enuff Z Nuff – two bands Chris never listened to but I’m pretty sure his influences did.

Self produced, mostly played by Chris while other members did proper jobs, it’s a stunning debut with stand out tracks like Red Wine Smile , Light At The End Of The Tunnel and Being Good Is Ok, But Being Good Is Better –

Touring this album turned the whole band into an entertainment machine – with identical clobber and cheeky stage moves matching the perfect harmonies and tight-as-a-gnats-chuff playing.

So, next move?

A more professional, better written follow up? Oh, go on then.

First a personnel change – Steve flew back to the Scaramangas nest and Pete Human came a wandering by – Pete was singer in Leeds band The Gushers, so he had no problem filling in the harmony gap left by Steve.

So, that second album then …

Champion The Underdog is as fine a rock album that has ever been produced on these shores, and the fact it didn’t break the band into the stadium bothering behemoths they should be is a travesty beyond belief – it, quite literally, shits over every major label release that came out that year – shit, my kids were singing along to ‘Beginning Of The End Of The world’ before the album was less than 7 days old!

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There’s not a duff track on Champion … plus, getting Fred Dibnar mentioned in a song must be worth some kind of award.

… and, the video to people Who Live In My House is brilliant (AshTV – THE video producers for the underground!)

After the lads found the release of Champion wasn’t delivering Hot-tubs, Limos and an endless supply of strippers … or, actually just a living for the band members as I reckon that’s what they really wanted … Chris and the boys had to do some tough thinking – was it time to pack in, or carry on with another album?

Inspiration came, not for the first time, in the shape of Ginger Wildheart and his very successful pledge campaigns – ‘Let’s try that!” cried Team Eureka.

And tried it they did – thank God – because they were, deservedly uber-successful and gave us the rather luscious Remain in Hope – less heavy, 10 times as catchy and a Queen-like display of lush production on a budget.

It’s a glorious album with so many brilliant examples of How To Write Song 101 it’s ridiculous – to lose a band like Eureka Machines to the apathy of the record buying public would be a travesty of the highest order.

Do yourselves a favour, scream Eureka and keep this brilliant bunch of blokes kicking out fantabulous music for years to come.

– Pol Dol

Category: General

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