Pleasant pop offerings from Happy Happy Birthday To Me are not unusual, and Eureka California (no comma, and from Athens, GA, not Eureka, CA) is no exception. This platter offers eleven fun scrappy pop songs with a punk bent from a two-piece on guitar, vocals, and drums. The songs range from happy, to smartass (see “I Bet You Like Julian Cope,” which uses its title as half the lyrical content), to introspective. The music has variety, but comes together cohesively as a singular piece, and the vocals are a nice snotty whine that has an underlying sense of urgency that give the songs a sense of honesty. EurekaCalifornia might have been more appropriately called SacramentoCalifornia, given the semblance they have to bands from that fair city (that’s a really good thing).
–Vincent Battilana, Razorcake
For a duo, Eureka California make a hell of a lot of noise. The Athens indie rockers, comprised of drummer Marie Uhler and singer/guitarist Jake Ward, have just turned in their second full-length in 18 months, and far from sounding like a rushed out also ran, ‘Crunch’ is a remarkably satisfying slice of unpretentious college rock.
Tracks like “I Bet You Like Julian Cope” and “Sneaky Robby” combine the lyrical wit of someone like Jonathan Richman, but the music itself is equal parts Mudhoney and The Jam.
Much like their debut, this one is another whirlwind of short, frantic, but well-crafted power pop ditties that slams to an abrupt halt not long after you drop the needle – their longest song is there-and-a-half minutes long, but most hover around the two minute mark, so the duo are in and out like a band of indie rock ninjas.
– John B. Moore, Innocent Words (8/1/2014)
Eureka California actually calls Athens, Georgia home and features the sarcastic, snarky musicianship of Jake Ward and Marie Uhler. The two have a penchant for capturing mid 90’s indie pop with subtle nuances that make eleven songs on Crunch memorable and instantly relatable. Ward, who labels himself “overeducated and underappreciated” in the band’s bio sings of life’s general frustrations for the twenty-somethings who will instantly recognize themselves within his lamentations. “Oh, I’m a deep thinker/And I know who Descartes is” he announces on the wryly-titled “Edith (One Day You’ll Live in a Bunker)” and declares, “You know Athens is dead” on “This is No A-side”. Alongside simple but richly harmonic riffs and a steady backbeat from Uhler, Ward’s lyrics tell tales of emptiness on “No Mas” (“Nobody will remember your name”) and general apathy (“I’d like to think that I still care”) on “There’s No looking Back”, a song that displays a more rambunctious side of the band, and while its never abandons its steadfast pop sensibilities, the track incorporates more aggressive punk aesthetics into its structure, a trait matched on the brief “I Bet That You Like Julian Cope”. The apex of the record is the self-reflective and self-ridiculing “Art is Hard”. Ward is a clever wordsmith who demonstrates a keen sense of acerbic introspection when he states, ”Money, money is everywhere, but there’s not a cent to spend/So what do I care? If I don’t get my share?” The song bounces in a manner similar to the A-side’s closing “#1 in the State”, but it also retains a tangible despondency that makes the track so intriguing. Ebbing and flowing in intensity, the song encapsulates the talent and comradery shared by these two skilled individuals. Some may claim that they have heard this before, but only if one is of a certain age: the kids just gaging the frustrations of a burgeoning adulthood will find this refreshingly identifiable and those who appreciate agitated pop will also find quite a bit to like.
– Jersey Beat (July 2014)
Well, ok, there’s a definite whiff of the 20th century’s final decade about Eureka California, specifically the clattering super-shonk of acts like Guided By Voices and Pavement, but the lines are far from greyed-out. Big Cats Can Swim is wide-screen, high-definition magnificence; brightly cheerful and thrillingly instant. The product of kids who know there’s no new shades on the spectrum, but are determined to have a blast mixing the colours.
The highlight, however, is the kinetic immediacy of ‘The Day No Trains Ran’: the band make like a stripped-down Olivia Tremor Control covering Archers of Loaf’s ‘Might’, powered simultaneously by the purposeful drumming of Marie Uhler and a shared energy that drizzles down from the speakers, straight into the listener’s feet. Ward hollers ‘it was a ticker-tape parade,’ and the overall effect is so goddamn euphoric you can practically feel yourself in the motorcade; innumerable strips of paper clouding your vision whilst gently caressing your skin. Heroic. Triumphant. Wonderful. It’s the sort of trick you wish pop music would pull off more often, though it rarely does.
– Line of Best Fit (10/26/12)
Eureka California is an Athens band playing delightful garage rock – British invasion-influenced stuff that is really catchy, raw and kind of psychedelic, in the vein of the Nuggets comps or, say, 13th Floor Elevators or early Pink Floyd – or jumping forward to some of the Paisley Underground stuff like Rain Parade. Big Cats Can Swim is a really good record… as in, the more I listen, the more I like.
– When You Motor Away (9/20/12)
Their album crackles and pops with great songs that retain the vital and immediateness that you would have experienced if you would have been in their garage when they were recording them. They have a lot of good ideas about crunchy pop songs and infuse a playfulness in them that many bands often forget.
Tunabunny, Eureka California have new albums, touring, playing CMJ (Brooklyn Vegan)
Eureka California/Lame Drivers Split Release (Flagpole)
Favorite Song Alert (Three Imaginary Girls)