Eric Metronome – You Should Be Happy

Eric Metronome
You Should Be Happy

It seems that the tragic death of Elliot Smith spawned a new genre of sensitive singer/songwriters influenced by his music, creating a glut of introspective bedroom pop artists with varying degrees of success, and Eric Metronome falls smack dab in the middle of the pack.

Born Eric Rottmayer, the ex-Tiara singer/guitarist borrows his last name from the beat-keeping instrument for his solo work and is the quintessential bedroom artist; writing, recording, mixing and producing everything himself. Rottmayer’s production skills, and most likely his equipment, are top-notch since instead of the lo-fi fuzziness associated with most bedroom indie-rock, these recordings are clean and polished with arrangements similar to the orchestrations of Sufjan Stevens, only not as intricate or ornate. Rottmayer is also adept at multi-tracking his voice to smooth it out and it comes off sounding like a cross between Andrew Kenny (American Analog Set) and a sweeter, more subdued Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie). Unfortunately the song-writing is not quite as strong resulting in some moderately pleasing yet unspectacular songs.

You Should Be Happy‘s 14 tracks explore the many different avenues of this burgeoning genre from the catchy Beatle-esque pop of “You Made It Easy”, to the sleek semi-new wave of “Call It A Day”, to rhythmic, alt-country influenced ditties like “Copy Cat” and “Something About Letting Go” to bland, stripped-down singer/songwriter piffle like “Dying Day”, “Words To Live By”, “The Me” and “Go Bye”. Most are amiable and melodic tunes, some tastefully garnished with hushed drums, gently strummed guitars, dreamy keyboards and various percussives, but none make a resonating impression.

It’s apparent from the earnest lyrics that Rottmayer’s heart is in his music and you can also hear it in his voice. But that’s the case with all of the reflective, folk-rock singer/songwriters saturating the market of late, so You Should Be Happy really has nothing to elevate itself to anything above average. Perhaps it’s just my taste since I like my music with more bite and don’t really consider much of the bedroom folk-rock above average, but fans of this genre should be contented with this latest release from Eric Metronome.