Review of Champion the Underdog Album by Eureka Machines

If you haven't yet heard of Eureka Machines, all I can say is that you simply have to check them out. Since the 2008 release of their debut dose of pop-rock perfection Do or Die, the band have toured fairly relentlessly around the UK toilet circuit, playing songs more befitting arenas. That they remain criminally underrated and largely unheard of is nothing short of confusing, given the quality of their music: Do or Die was up there with my favourite albums of 2008 (if not the whole decade) so topping it with album number 2 was always going to be a tall order. They've done it though. And then some.

Eureka Machines Champion the Underdog Album

The album opens up with its title track, a 4 minute beast packed with riffs and a trademark huge chorus, sounding like a more radio friendly version of The Wildhearts, even throwing in a cheeky nod to The Ramones. These Are The People Who Live In My House and (I'm) Wasting My Time (Yet Again) follow a similar formula. They are brilliant slices of catchy pop rock not dissimilar to what was showcased on their debut album.

But it is at track four, Magnets where things start to get interesting. It would seem the Machines have opened up an epic avenue in their song writing which really trumps the rest of the catalogue. Magnets keeps a catchy verse melody before breaking into a more melancholy chorus. It's more restrained but hardly a ballad. This is followed by Godot's Arrived, another big epic song with a brilliant riff and the introduction of keyboards and a horn section. It brings to mind The Cardiacs, especially the mad outburst of an outro. It's insane; in a good way.

Professional Crastinator then strays even further from their trademark sound before the 9 minute epic riff-a-thon off Zero Hero takes you back to familiar territory. In a past interview, Chris Catalyst (chief machine) mentioned that 'Eureka Machines didn't want to be the biggest band in the world; they wanted to be the best.' On this evidence, I think they might be on the cusp of nailing that particular target.

The album closes with the wittily titled A Ballad to Finish, which does pretty much exactly as it says on the tin. It's packed with tongue in cheek lyrics about heartbreak which make music with a sense of humour sound like an easy thing to create. That's one of the joys of listening to Eureka Machines: it actually sounds like they're having as much fun crafting these huge songs as you are listening to them.

If you loved Do or Die, this could easily be your favourite album of 2011. If Eureka Machines are still off your radar (WHY?!) you need to pick this up. These guys could well be your new favourite band.

Ben Walton

Site -