First Fruits by Eggman (Review)

Releasing a solo album while being affiliated with one of the great pop bands required some guts.
First Fruits - Eggman

Eggman is the brainchild of one Sice, also known as the lead singer of one Britain’s great musical exports, the Boo Radleys. This album is a collection of 10 great pop songs, all penned by Sice. In many ways, this was daring move by the guy. Releasing a solo album while being affiliated with one of the great pop bands required some guts. I know I’d be shaking in my boots if I was under the shadow of the mighty Boos.

However, Sice pulls it off with little incident, and gives us this little gem. Just under 33 minutes in length, First Fruits is a great little album, kind of like the punchy little kid you always root for. It’s just hard not too like this album. I hesitate to compare this with the Boos’ work, although it’s very difficult to do otherwise. I’ll just say that it does sound similar to Wake Up!, without it’s brooding lyrical mood. Nor does it have any of the heavy experimentation that Wake Up! did. In many ways, this is a very nice and compact record. It comes, says what it needs to say, and doesn’t mess around. It’s very refreshing, but it does seem a little lightweight, kind of like a little brother to the Boos.

But you’ve got to like the gutsy nature of this album. The songs are incredibly pleasant and catchy, especially the opener “Purple Patches” and “That’s That Then (For Now),” where Sice proclaims boldly that “I don’t need anything else but to be here with you.” Trembling, beautiful organs and strings give way to swaggering guitars that will have you nodding your head in time. It’s kind of like restrained psychedelia, with Sice’s beautiful vocals soaring over everything. On tracks like these, his voice is at its boldest. But on the ballad “Out of My Window,” his vocals take on a humble, almost fragile quality that matches the beautiful string arrangements.

“I’ll Watch Your Back” is a bright-eyed piece, dominated by the harpsichord. Again, Sice’s vocals float around in the background, as he states “You need to make up your mind, you need to choose. And I’ll watch your back.” The album closes with the title track, another great song with a Wurlitzer piano taking the main stage. Again, Sice adds his great voice and harmonies. First Fruits comes off as a sort of tribute to his musical heroes. Sice sings “I’ll be where you have gone. I’ll sing where you have sung. I’ll shine my light when you have gone.” It’s a great way to end this album, a nice little reminder of the past. In many ways, this album reminds me of the optimism of childhood, with all of its open-eyed wonder and charm.

As said before, all of the songs are penned by Sice. But he’s joined by several people, including Boo-buddies Martin Carr, Rob Cieka, and Tim Brown. But the project is undeniably Sice’s. If you’re looking for a nice lightweight pop album, pick up First Fruits. While it may be hard to separate Sice from the Boos, this album proves that Sice is his own talent. Hopefully, we’ll see some more from him in the near future.

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