Champ de Mars – Back From The West
Champ de Mars is a group founded by singer-songwriter David Emerick, who has been an active front-man of various alternative and indie bands in the California area since the nineties. The most successful of his groups, Bellstar, worked the bay area for a solid eight years and released two albums. After Bellstar, Emerick moved to the east coast and focused on solo material. He has since released two additional albums and has written a novel titled, The Silent Year.
This project, Champ de Mars, which takes its name from a park located in the center of Paris, is somewhat of a creative compilation between musicians that Emerick has worked on and off with over the years. Their debut EP titled “Back From The West” was released at the start of 2016 and is available for free on the band’s website. Emerick currently resides in Washington D.C. This is a great effort by David Emerick and current musicians in his camp. The songs are crafty but loose and the players are very tight. It deals with looking back a lot but out of it came a great modern rock result. You get some past, present and a little future here but it’s mostly centered-around getting back to roots and the fact that nostalgia doesn’t discriminate when it comes on strong. It’s about looking for that good stuff. These songs resonate all of the elements that got us here, but with an added depth and texture that dusts off their old-felt edges. “All Hail The Has Beens” is where the it all starts and it’s a great lyric, but not all of the words on this EP fair as well, to be honest but this is one where you can relate if you’re old enough. REM are exemplified in this, and tales of how things would be now are weaved into it, so it’s not perfect but it sure is interesting and feels almost like time travel in a way. This isn’t something you hear every day, no mistaking that. This track fights for airtime and wins over most in the process but don’t be fooled, these are all fine tunes with great stories. This track will get you going with the best of them, let’s just put it that way. But if that isn’t enough, there are four more songs to sink your ears into. On “X Marks The Citizen” you are treated to a complex arrangement, likely because it is a complex subject matter. Emerick makes no secret of what drives his feelings about society and it’s contradictions. This is a complete contract to the opening track but it’s equally interesting and exciting. You know by now that the guitars are a focal point of these songs and it will likely continue to astonish with some great playing. There is no holding back on this. You will like the way everyone interacts on this display of their energy. And that changes up a little but not too much on the next track. “Western Evaporate” is where a turning point does happen but as mentioned it’s just a little change in the groove. This is structured completely different but loses no impact, in fact it’s one of the best tunes because it’s more relaxed. There is a radio static noise that set it up and the track proceed to go into a “Fascination Street” style guitar riff, and it almost sounds like some vocals of The Cure as well. But Emerick cuts through in his own way and the track finds its own originality. This is brilliantly executed. Everyone fades in and out at times in your life, and sometimes they can’t get back, because they never got through in the first place. More killer guitar takes over and this track wins. But on “American Static” he explores another world, yet again. This is where I was initially won over by Emerick’s talents. But it takes nothing away from anything on the EP. You can hear Midnight Oil and a hint of others but that’s a good thing for me because that band were great and only had one real big hit but it was by no means their best work. A hat tipped to them is never a bad idea with me.
This is so chock full of melody it’s amazing. It’s probably the most modern track even though it has a classic sound. The message is don’t stay trapped in static norms a nation can be sucked into. Do something different, even if it’s of the same ingredients. If there is any influence to find her it’s Rob Thomas. But other than that this pops with more originality than influence, any day. It’s quite a ride thus far but it’s not over until “The Gospel Of Dystopia” has spoken, and it’s a doomier sound but the guitars and drums take a front seat to the techno feel it has and saves the day. Then a sweet chorus attempts to lighten it up a bit and the fun is all but had. And the vocals here are at their most muscular as well. A cool way to end a cool project. This EP is worth your time, if only it was more exposed but follow these points and seek it out because it contains some good songs with great playing chops and some fine subjects covered.
Related Link: http://boomboomchik.com/2016/01/ep-champ-de-mars.html