Today, we’re looking at the musical project/new release, nah I’m good, of Stephen O’Dowd and his musical project handsome eric. handsome eric could be described as simple, lo-fi, pop music that sometimes reminded me of The Eels, for some bizarre reason, and then sometimes reminds me of less favourable emotions. I’m pretty sure it’s still cool to have emotions, right? Of Course.
nah I’m good, is an incredibly endearing release that may not look like it emulates much charm, but the relatable lyrical content and uncomplicated instrumentation makes it a real treat. Take, starve 2 death, for a start, O’Dowd is appealing to my night owl tendencies, ‘I never get to sleep/until the morning/I always wake up late/to disappsointment’, no, there isn’t much to these lyrics, but they’re effective.
In this simple and direct manner, handsome eric cuts all the crap that a lot of songwriters try to dance around with metaphor and imagery to excess. That’s not to say that everything is quick and to the pointless here – the song, an unbearable feeling of being okay, offers up an interesting change in personas, but still remain personal and close to the heart. There’s also a very self-aware sense throughout the entire runtime, with the first track here, terror blanket, and the last one, dank ass kush forever, the lyrics can seem self-deprecating and self-loathing, but not in a boring way that just has you rolling your eyes. These are just two of my favourite examples – it happens a few times more.
I think in general the lyrical content of this album will speak to a lot of people, I mean: it spoke to me on several occasions with tongue in cheek and a few hits rather close to home. For example, uncomplicated lines like ‘You’re messed up but it’s alright/you’re fucked but you’re still cool in my eyes’ are greatly compelling, especially to the right listener. Granted, I did struggle at the beginning with the vocals, but I warmed up to them very quickly when I realised that they suited the kind of music that handsome eric is going for here.
The instrumentation on this release deserves a mention too, not only because it works, but because I works without fancy productions and excessive cleanliness. No, the real joy in this release, besides the relatable lyrics, lies in the sparse, fuzzy, lo-fi instrumentation.
As I previously said, a lot of the songs remind me of The Eels and while I feel some fans could flog me for that, it just rings around in my head. The twee as fuck synths in starve 2 death and the build-up at the end of dank ass kush forever, no? Just me? Whatever. There’s plenty of stripped back percussions on these songs to back up the guitars, but yeah, they’re okay, they’re just there. The star remains the cute guitars on tracks like knitwear & vomit (which is also a great track) and terror blanket.
dank ass kush forever, sticks out to me, it must be said, mainly because it shows that handsome eric can pull some great crescendos out of his sleeve. I’d love to see him push the boat out with more tracks like this and go on a more bombastic scale with the way he goes about his music. That being said, we’re left with a perfectly good release that doesn’t act like a tart and flaunt crescendos left right and centre, but rather, a very well measured release.
nah I’m good is that guy you know at work that stays up all night on the web, needs better friends and gets down sometimes – Befriend him and reap the benefits of interesting instrumentation, intimate lyrics and bad album art.
The album is available for a name your price-price, so why not give it a try and lose sleep with handsome eric.