You could accuse the Breton Sound of creating awfully high expectations for itself if you assume that the pop/rock music audience knows its Aristotle. Eudaemonia was his term for the highest human good, but more people will likely learn that as I did (by Googling it), so the album title signals little more than these guys don’t feel obliged to dumb things down. They certainly don’t feel an obligation to keep it tight; on two of the EP’s four songs, the tracks are six minutes long or longer. “No More Worries” and “Lines” don’t seem baggy, though. The surplus of pop ideas that bounce around through the former are united in a “Champagne Supernova”-like instrumental conclusion centered on Stephen Turner’s lead guitar melody. “Lines” has a prog vibe for me cued partially by the number of distinct sections in the song and partially by Jonathan Pretus’ vocal, which echoes Phil Collins circa Trick of the Tail-era Genesis.
The ghost of Oasis makes its presence felt on occasions, more in the band’s clear love of melodic pop/rock songs and big rock ’n’ roll guitars than in a self-conscious Anglophilia. The band makes immediately accessible music that’s designed to be the catalyst of a big crowd experience, even though the Breton Sound have played few gigs so far. Still, the shorter “Crisis or Carnival” and “Sunshine & Ragtime Pt. 2” would have benefited from more careful think-throughs. The first, like the EP title, has a whiff of cleverness that takes the edge off an otherwise punchy track, while the latter uses the very familiar “bore us/chorus” rhyme, resolving verses with a lyrical commonplace.
It’s evident throughout Eudaemonia that Pretus and Turner have ideas to spare; it will be interesting to see if that means they’ll continue to write stuffed and sprawling songs, or if they’ll deploy their ideas more judiciously in the future. Both possibilities have promise.