Since coming together at the Leeds College of Music, British band Eades have been comfortable with reassessing and readjusting. After their first EP in 2020, they started to balance their debut’s clean post-punk guitar tones and pointed licks with a newfound confidence in fuzzy, catchy indie rock that combines sheer intensity with tunefulness. In this era where plenty of British post-punk bands have nailed both aggression and theatricality, Eades separate themselves on their new album, Delusion Spree, by understanding the importance of an infallible hook in a sea of bands who are focused on eccentricity. Even as they adapt and grow, their clear knack for consistent rock tunes keeps shining through.
That isn’t to say Eades have moved forward too quickly. On Delusion Spree, the five-piece snatch some of their strongest songs from their early releases and place them in a new context. “Smoking Hour,” from 2021’s Abstract Education EP, has always had a slow-building sharpness, introducing itself with a walking bass part and thumping drums. Here on the album version, the background vocals and synths especially pop out of the mix. For 2020’s Microcosmic Things EP, “Saying Forever” acted as the band’s earliest signature song, especially when you get to Henry Jordan’s booming voice on the chorus. With the Delusion Spree rerecording, it’s a reminder that Eades can lock into a tighter groove, especially when they’re allowed to flesh out their Talking Heads influence with wood blocks and outlandish synthesizers. After the whirling guitar bends of the outro, it’s no wonder they included “Saying Forever” on their debut.
“Reno” takes the listener by storm, opening the album with belted group vocals and jagged chords, before revealing itself as a “Folsom Prison Blues” rewrite: “Did you hear he got shot down in Reno? The shooter had no reason but to watch a man die,” sings Jordan during the song’s triumphant climax. You’d expect “Reno” to go into a final chorus, but then multi-instrumentalist Lily Fontaine’s voice pops through the hectic mix, the track jumps into a bustle, a spoken-word part appears, and then it finally falls back into a cathartic, half-time chorus. It’s a proper introduction, where Eades throw their best tricks at the wall and manage to make all of them stick.
Delusion Spree occasionally falters when Eades fall back upon those tricks too often. An unexpected tempo change is one of their favorites. It’s deployed with grace on “Former Warnings Cluster,” where the tense groove slows into a show-stopping ending. But the sudden change of pace doesn’t always work. On the scattershot “Parachute Games,” the speed-up ending only drags out a track that pairs appealing qualities (a wonderful verse melody, the repeated mantra of “Wasn’t it easier when we were friends?”) with an unorganized structure and an unnecessary spoken-word bit—another device that Eades use more than once here. At a little over four minutes, it’s both the longest song on the album and the song that feels the longest.
At points, Delusion Spree is more bittersweet than anything else Eades have done so far. There are songs here about direct heartbreak, but more often you’ll find a sense of melancholy, which is more than enough to anchor some of this record’s most moving moments. There’s the steady “Voodoo Doll,” where Jordan wonders how his ex views their relationship—if those feelings are bitter or joyful. It’s aided by Fontaine’s backing vocals and grand synths that lend a sense of wistfulness to a song that’s both already upbeat and gloomy. “Every Changing” pairs flickering guitar parts with a chronicle of uncertainty in a relationship. “You’ve been running from tough decisions,” sings Jordan, over a rhythm that sounds like it’s sprinting.
As a frontperson, Jordan howls and thrives on Delusion Spree, but the album’s secret weapon is when he’s at his most reserved. His voice succeeds in emphasizing Delusion Spree’s most bummed-out material, which is helpful in keeping the album from sounding one-note, considering the consistently upbeat instrumentation. “Delusion Spree,” the album’s second single, is Eades’ best song yet, and it’s almost entirely because Jordan excellently pairs his performance to the material. When he mutters, “Yeah, I knew you meant it,” about someone telling him that they’ve changed, his palpable exhaustion is heartbreaking. It’s particularly startling because the band behind him could easily be playing an early Arctic Monkeys tune.
Plenty of moments on Delusion Spree make Eades stand out, from the fantastic hooks throughout to the interlocked, rigid guitar melodies, but the title track is where they establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. It’ll be a wonder if Jordan and co. can pair despair with jittering indie rock this well again. Let’s hope that Eades keep trying.
Ethan Gordon is a writer from Pittsburgh who is currently living in Manhattan. His work can be found at Bandcamp, No Ripcord, and others.