Although certainly affected by the presence in their backyard of one of the most vibrant punk (and post-punk) scenes in America, Washington DC’s Eggs were clearly more impressed by the bucolic prog-jazz-folk musings of English cult heroes like Soft Machine and National Health. Admittedly more prone to dissonant digressions than either of those bands, the instrument-swapping trio nevertheless demonstrated a marked tendency toward winsome displays of pataphysical verve that wouldn’t have been out of place at a stoned soul picnic, circa 1972.
Unlike its initial barrage of swoony singles, Eggs’ first album is a tentative affair, imbued with plenty of charm by the members’ unabashedly effervescent interplay. By and large, however, Bruiser falls victim to a hyper-indie sense of self-consciousness that sees the band so bent on going unnoticed that it does everything but apologize to the listener for having to sit through the thing. The trio actually tenders that apology on the superior Exploder — in a liner note that mumbles “we realize this is a long album and we apologize in advance for any discomfort it may cause you.” The disc is, in fact, a bit padded by Evan Shurak’s whimsical instrumental interludes and extended silences (designed to mimic the dead air between sides of a vinyl record), but those affectations are offset by disarming ditties like “Why Am I So Tired All of the Time?” (buoyed by Rob Christiansen’s comely trombone line) and the jittery Feelies-like “Ampellang” (a showcase for guitarist Andrew Beaujon).
The post-breakup How Do You Like Your Lobster compiles odds and ends culled from a number of TeenBeat compilations, as well as three pre-Bruiser singles. After the band’s split, Christiansen, who had been moonlighting in Grenadine, formed Viva Satellite!, a wacked-out trio that debuted with what is probably the first twink-pop opera, performed in the classical style, complete with Greek chorus. The basic plot is laid out in the opening track, “The Legend of How Salt Water Taffy Came to Be,” and continues — with Christiansen, Lauren Feldsher and Dan Morrissey playing a variety of parts — through interludes about love, lust and Israel-Palestine relations. School plays should all be so much fun!