Sometimes, things just don’t click. You can have all the right pieces in place, but the whole is far less than the sum of its parts. This is the crippling problem that Bridges and Powerlines face on Eve. In many songs, there are solid moments and good musicianship. But the tracks and the album fall flat when you put it all together.
There are two key factors that hurt this record the most. Sadly, they’re also two of the most important parts of a group’s sound: the vocals and the guitar. Andrew Wood’s voice isn’t unpleasant or off-key, it just feels lifeless. There’s no sense of passion within the notes, and the limited range he uses here just adds to the dullness. This is seen from moment one with “The First Equation”: Even when he’s shouting, it feels like someone reading their lines rather than conveying them.
David Boyd’s guitar is wasted, as most of the riffs heard are instantly forgettable and tiresome. While styles range from gentle plucks to high-powered chords, it hardly ever creates a strong enough melody to support a song. The title track wastes a very groovy, garage-rock riff, but after 30 seconds or so, it switches into background verse chords that fail to capture attention.
If there’s anything good here, it’s Wood’s keyboard skills. Each song that features keys brings something different to the table, using a wide variety of tones. “The Cave-In” features jazzy piano chords over a military drumbeat. “Mirabell” has both grounded organ synths and happy keys that bounce around the melodies. “The Roman Leaders” is beautifully fragile, creating the sound of glass clinking against ice.
Eve can be compared to a nightmarish version of putting IKEA furniture together. You have all the pieces, but some are bent out of shape and the instructions are in Klingon. Occasionally, something will come together, but it’s unlikely that you’ll assemble everything into a bookshelf. It’s tough for a creation to be more than the sum of its parts when you’re starting with pieces that weren’t working in the first place.