Review by: Mr. Substitute
The concept of having a “B-sides and extras” type of album is new to me, recently introduced to me through many of Sufjan Stevens’ albums that are like this (The Avalanche and The Greatest Gift are two examples). When I was thinking about this idea I had this thought: when the source is stellar, everything that comes from it will be as well. (I’m actually now realizing the first Cake album I owned was B-Sides and Rarities, oops).
It has been 2 weeks to the day since Eichlers released his second album entitled DAYS BEFORE MCF. The dust still hasn’t settled. The gaiety and dancing hasn’t stopped. Eichlers has his finger on the pulse of the ska scene and has been putting out impeccable tracks that increase said pulse to match the hyperska beats he creates. Where My Checkered Future left off, DAYS BEFORE MCF picked it back up.
I feel like what makes DAYS BEFORE MCF so wonderful (and equally and simultaneously Eichlers himself as an artist) is the collaboration involved: the likes of Kmoy, Millington, We Are The Union and Half Past Two all had their finger on this project, all adding and amplifying the sound and tone of DAYS BEFORE MCF. The first track, a song originally written by the incomparable Kmoy and then later remastered by Eichlers, sets up the mood and tone of the album, repeating the line “I wanna be like Eichlers” surrounded by the familiar fat bass drops. The one track on this album that instantly shot up my charts of “favorite song of all-time” has to be “B HAPPY” because, to me, it encapsulates everything that I love about Eichlers: great hyperbeat, pessimistic lyrics sung happily, for some reason I love the sort of raw acoustic guitar sound, and then the best thing about this song are the little asides Ike has with himself throughout the track (the “Yee-haw!” literally makes me laugh every time I hear it).
In Music Shelf’s monthly “9 Artists We’re Listening To” I wrote that DAYS BEFORE MCF was like walking into a Cold Stone Creamery for the first time: everything that your sweet tooth could desire is all in one place, candy, ice cream, gourmet chocolates even treats for your dog. And then as if it couldn’t get better you get to literally tell the person behind the counter exactly what you want and they craft the perfect concoction right in front of you. “HIGHWAY 2 THE ERRORZONE” (previously released on BTR’s The Shape of Ska to Come Vol.2) is this tight little “stress release” of a song while “WAIT4U” is this gut-wrenching, heartfelt song of longing, patience, and missed connections. DAYS BEFORE MCF also has two covers, one from Half Past Two with Ike hyperizing (I’m making that a word) the incredibly catchy song “Scratched CD” and the other a hyperska tribute to We Are The Union’s timeless song “Make It Easy” and Origami Angel’s song “Self-Destruct” in the song entitled “TIKTOK SONGS.”
DAYS BEFORE MCF is proof that whatever Ike puts out, it is hand-crafted, hand-painted and hand-polished. The details are intricate, thoughtful and necessary; the overarching sound, tone and message are still very much on-brand for Eichlers. And much like the newly-minted meme says, “DAYS BEFORE MCF, betcha can’t stream just once.” At roughly 15 minutes, DAYS BEFORE MCF is a bite-sized treat with mind-blowing taste. You can purchase DAYS BEFORE MCF on Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify or Apple Music. And of course, if you don’t follow Eichlers on Twitter or Instagram (both, really) go ahead and do so to keep up on what he’s putting out.