by Kyle Cochrun
Eddie Gancos has had one hell of a start to the summer.
The Akron-based singer/songwriter’s band CityCop released their latest EP, titled Nesh, on May 24 through Little Elephant records.
Then Eddie will release a solo record under the moniker Alomar, titled Soul Case, on July 5 through Small Mammal Records.
Whereas Nesh is a swirling storm of full-band instrumentation, Soul Case is a stripped-back acoustic affair, delivering angst-filled lyrics in sunny folk ditties.
CityCop have been releasing music in spurts since 2011 — an album here, an EP there, occasionally skipping a year or more. On Nesh, the band is impeccably synchronized, churning out sweeping emo-flavored rock songs that fluctuate between tranquility and turmoil, as if mimicking the progression of a mid-summer thunderstorm. They manage to electrify with a lineup of acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Vocals by Eddie often shift from shrill scream to broken hush to angry snarl within a single song.
The EP’s title track incorporates everything the band does well: atmospheric instrumentation, catchy vocal crests, distraught lyrics, impressive drumming and guitar melodies that flicker from radiant to overcast. “Send me a signal, a nationwide symbol / Why do I love this if it feels so abysmal?” Eddie sings. His tuneful inflections keep these desperate proclamations from slipping into weariness.
On Soul Case, Eddie foregrounds his lyrics in songs consisting of just acoustic guitar and vocals.
“I would say this record is just about going through various changes in life in your mid-20s and trying to understand them and understand who you are as a person so that you can eventually grow from it,” Eddie says.
Despite the absence of CityCop’s dense stormscapes, Soul Case is a bleaker record than Nesh.
The opening track “Hey Alexa” is a love song to Amazon’s Alexa automaton speaker system, which Eddie asks to play “that song [he] wrote in 2009 / for the two-hundredth time” and to “take away the pain [he’s] been feeling.”
“At least I have technology to keep me company,” he sings. It’s a pleasant campfire jingle detailing loneliness and crippling anxiety.
The rest of Soul Case maintains this formula. Eddie describes “stained blood, like paint dries on a canvas” and a garbage can overflowing with takeout. He begs to be fired from his job, goes drunk driving and proclaims, “I don’t have faith in you or in anyone.” The effect is like a series of diary entries, an intimate account of a young person brimming with confessions and cynicism.
“[Soul Case] comes from a place where I was bitter and not content with how life was shaping out to be for me personally,” Eddie says.
“I tried to cover up some of the dark tones of the album with some catchy melodies, but the overall feel of the record is definitely angsty, which wasn’t really my intention—it’s just how things shaped up to be when I finished writing this batch of songs.”
With two solid releases dropping within a month and a half of each other, he has good reason to be cheerful.
Kyle Cochrun is a writer from Akron, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images used with permission from Eddie Gancos.