Where can you see everything triumph in the face of the cumbersome? Where can you feel everything coincidental and complicated, colliding?
If you have never heard intentions crashing into interventions then tilt your head toward Everything Absent or Distorted (a love story).
Quite possibly Denver’s most educated band, the seven members of Everything Absent or Distorted (EAOD) are by no means pedantic in their navigation of the world. Sitting around a table of whiskey shots with the boys, even with glazed eyes it’s not difficult to pick-up on the fact that each of their collective triumphs has been carefully appreciated and memorialized, in song or life. And while they are heady – in their presence, their opus and even individual texture, they may be the most kind-hearted band of men and honest stewards of the human condition, in town.
With a lineup that boasts of a doctoral student, two lawyers and an acupuncturist among other noteworthy professions and educational backgrounds, EAOD has overcome a variety of hurdles, together and apart, to stand near the top of Denver’s bourgeoning music landscape.
With the release of The Soft Civil War and the subsequent rush of Denver press, EAOD (Bryce Merrill, Trevor Trumble, Jody Bilmer, John Kuker, Ryan Stubbs, Andy Maher, Joe Grobelny – all playing too many instruments to list here) is fast establishing itself with its inimitable sound and complicated, but precise, stylings. And the praise is well-earned. The Soft Civil War is undeniably the strongest album to come out this year in Denver. This, despite some brave and bold steps that each of players has taken to get to this point, not withstanding have been the impossible comparisons to national acts and the criticisms about their size and large sound.
And to taste some of this fragility is also to know: EAOD is not afraid of the color pink.
They’re not timid about the idea of balloons.
And they don’t even wince at the mention of that finicky four-letter word, love.
In fact, they will combine all three in a composition and put it on the front of an album cover. Just as they have on The Soft Civil War. What’s more? For their CD release party at the hi dive in August, the club was packed evermore with pink and powder blue balloons, their faithful audience in uniform and all seven of them, up on stage, pouring their hearts out – standing amid the colors, the ideas and the emotions of doing something in earnest.
With individual and professional endeavors standing atop EAOD's efforts in scheduling collective gatherings, at times it has weighed on them – but this is not to say that it has inhibited them. To the contrary. It seems that within every complication the band has managed to find success through hard work, dedication and a belief in their collective as well as something much taller than even the seven of them stacked-up.
In any capacity it is a monumental task coordinating people. For any reason, on any given day. Whether you are bringing together hundreds, or seven. Whether it’s for music, for politics or simply just for happy hour at the Sputnik.
Now, move this to the stage: Mix-in an impossible amount of instruments, microphones and seven pink characters trading those implements nearly constantly. For a sound man, this could be a nightmare. In creating an album and working with an engineer – this could be messy and laborious. And within this – sure, there have been stumbles. However, despite everything cumbersome, these monstrous chasms have all been overcome. And what’s more every triumph has grown the band. And you can feel it. Here in EAOD (pronounced, eee-odd – and feeling more like a place than a band) you can sense their gratitude as they speak about the incredibly lucky nature of their relationships with one another – and their audience.
For EAOD, everything is necessary: Cosmic intervention. Ultimate honesty. Strong coincidence (seven songs on their album that just by happenstance mirrors the fact that they have seven members of the band and seven balloons on the disk’s art). The earnest pursuit of everything great and large and clear. Working together as a collective (within EAOD and their other one, Needlepoint Records, headed by the guys from CAT-A-TAC). For them, everything – absolutely everything is necessary, just like looking into the cosmos to combine intention with intervention.
In this land of EAOD, you can see a representation of life in-motion, and life – happening.
Employing everything from drums and guitars, to keyboards, a banjo, an accordion and a trombone, EAOD has erected a wondrous and heady collective of compositions in The Soft Civil War. The album is remarkably dense, from its stylings which are wildly different on each track, to the arrangements and the careful implementation of each of their many instruments, to their wondrously strange, concise and intriguing lyrical catalog.
On the cover of The Soft Civil War is a photograph of a graveyard, with balloons leaving the land. There are figures dressed in pink and laying at the foot of the tombstones. Written in these postures is a great reverence. In this still shot of life, there is a great and obvious memorial dedicated to everything absent or distorted; lost and unseen; monstrous and beautiful – but maybe not observed or understood.
In this photo and in this album you will find humankind at its best.
In this you will see a still-life of the world, remembering.
In this you will feel humanity, paying attention.
In this, you will hear Everything Absent or Distorted.