Akin to the same effect of a lit match on a perfectly sunny day, producing a subsequent yuxtaposing of both lights. There is a melodic overabundance pouring from this debut album by alternative Acoustic Folk/Pop-rock band Mushman and their leaders, actors, and musicians Patrick Fugit and David Fetzer from Salt Lake City.
David Fetzer plays the guitar, the harmonica, some additonal keys, the guitar-banjo, and he's the main singer. Patrick Fugit plays the guitar, the Flamenco guitar, the harmonica, and occasionally he dares to sing a bit. Camden Chamberlain plays the bass and he's the recording wizard who does the mixing and mastering of the songs. Doug Grose plays the keys and Ian Aldous is the drummer. Their influences are varied: Iron and Wine, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, The Shins, Grandaddy, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, etc.
The band's name refers to movie star Steve McQueen, who used it as an alias: "He would check into hotels under the name Harvey Mushman", Fugit told to Deseretnews in an interview "McQueen was pretty cool, and we couldn't think of anything better. So it stuck."
Their debut album "Eddie Do", released on November 2, 2007 is a quirky compilation of stories of the life of a fictional kid. “Eddie is sort of a... um... metaphor for my neurosis in relation to girls. I think it’s manifested as a 6 year old boy – that’s my emotional maturity when it comes to dating” -David Fetzer tries to explain the biographical origins of Eddie in an interview for Elitestv.
The record contains thirteen tracks written by Mushman, except "From the ground, Looking up," which is by David and Scott Fetzer and "Brennan's Theme" composed by Seth Bernard (Earthworkmusic.com). His contrasts broaden the emotional childlike roller coaster vibe providing a naughty comfort while listening and even quite time after listening to it.
The first track, "Eddie's Balloon" has a similar atmosphere and melodic line to a song called "Spaceman," "Eddie was afraid to die but didn't know why" introduces in the fearful mind of Eddie the young lonely antihero: "from his window" he waited, maybe a revelation looking at a distant high heaven, with a sad choir extending in a mute and inconclusive instrumental silt.
The second, "It's Too High" is like a brief joke through a vocal counting up (6,7,8).
Third song, "I don't Know" was featured in the hilarious comedy film Bickford Schmeckler's Cool Ideas (2006) by Scott Lew and is about the continuous doubting by the paranoid kid: "I don't know if you tell the truth, I don't know if I want you too... I don't know what to do, what to do with you, I don't know you." It makes him look like a particularly traumatized boy by mercurial femenine behaviour.
In the fourth "Pirate Pete" Fetzer would confess: “I was going to school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan for acting and theater. I was in a production where I was playing a character that had syphilis and so I was in a strange mind-set during that production. There is a certain scene where he is loosing his mind and it was really messing with me. At the same time, my roommate had this figurine of a pirate with a provocative looking telescope... the two sort of combined and then I wrote the song”. Certainly, a weird inspiration for a song whose obsessive request is "I wish you were my friend".
The fifth track, "From the Clouds, Looking Down" is a cloudy instrumental gone haywire through a granular guitar sound.
Going on with "Eddie's Nightmare," some latent schizo symptoms lie hidden under a slothful tempo whose reverberations are expanding and receding as a nightmare blocking our numb conscience: "The summer so bright... and some people were blinded," our protagonist mumbles again.
In the seventh "Intermission" there is a rather comical vocal reminder "Ladies and gentlemen we take one minute four seconds intermission." which ends with a non-ironic dry "thank you".
The eight track (and beginning of Side B) is another instrumental "Here Again, Gone Again." It's a very solemn passage punctuated with bold flamenco guitar chords.
The next is also an instrumental piece. "From the Ground, Looking Up" is beset by crystalline string swells that remind me of the famous "Hotel California" by The Eagles.
We return back to the thoughts of Eddie spoken in riddles "You Don't Know," a beautiful song with a very low and slow beginning which gingerly shows us Eddie's sweetly conflicted heart: "You don't know me... don't say you know what I've been through... you don't know how I see you..." ending with this choir "turuturututu tururututu" which reminded me partially to the final desperate choir of Lou Reed's "Smile" from "Growing up in Public" (1980).
The eleventh track "DVD Menu" is a velvetian type instrumental, encompassing coyly a progressively uplifting feeling.
Only to be darkened fiercely through the next "Eddie's Lament:" "And then one night he run away, too young to drive but too sad to stay", which culminates with a series of "Aha, Aha, Aha" which combines a hopefulness breeze with a restless sadness.
The final theme "Brennan's Theme" appears in the recent film "Wristcutters: A Love Story" (2006) by Goran Dukic, which focuses on suicidal misfits and that was nominated in Sundance and won the Grand Jury Feature Film award at the 11th annual Gen Art Film Fest. Patrick Fugit comments about this song: “I had asked my friend Seth Bernard to do the score for a documentary I was filming about T. Casey Brennan and I just loved what he did. It captured this guy’s tragic and crazy side; the part of this dude who took way too much acid”.
The record was mixed and mastered by Camdem Chamberlain at Kitefishing's studio during the summer of 2004. It is produced by Mushman and Camdem Chamberlain, artwork and layout of the record by Susan Fawcett, and is available for sale in:
Fox on a hill Productions
Published on 16th November in Blogcritics.org.
WATCH "SPACEMAN" VIDEO