On its debut full-length, The Sea Anemone Inside of Me is Mighty, Ferocious Eagle—a two-guitar trio made up of Greg Dalbey, Jon Andersen and drummer Eric Jensen (Tractor Operator)—is playing hard to get. Ugly, slightly discordant, Primuslike stomping riffs—like those on the instrumental refrain of "Dinosaur"—and the chirpy, hollered vocals that follow in the same song's chorus are status quo for The Sea Anemone. It is not, however, an album that deflects your attention. While "Dinosaur," the second track, won't leave you swooning, there is the sense that rapture is just around the corner.
Following the wavelike builds at the intro to "Something She Said," the song's verses of offer the most loosely melodic vocal moments on the album. You'll think, "Is this where I'm going to fall in love with Ferocious Eagle?" just like you thought it during the not-pretentious-at-all hammer-ons and finger-taps on the opening, title track's lead guitar. But the title track, too, with its cutesy, sort of noodly instrumental bridge and shrill chorus, decries any sense of flirtation—and makes it awfully hard to fall for Ferocious Eagle.
Of course, one might argue, as Keats does in "Ode on a Grecian Urn," that "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ Are sweeter." And—just as for the lovers in that poem—there certainly is some pleasure in the fruitless pursuit of Ferocious Eagle. At just under a minute and a half, "Spunky" does a great job of leaving a lot unheard: The cowboy-style guitar and the song's only line, "I saw you get hit by a car/ Good night," demand immediate relistening, as does a throbbing, post-punk rendition of the theme to Sesame Street—which arrives smack in the middle of "Transformer."
But at the end of the day, these compositional touches are a poor substitute for the gut-wrenching, mind-blowing or extraordinarily amusing moments of similarly coy artists. Though Ferocious Eagle's choice of band name has been affirmed by many a WW and LocalCut.com writer—and is certainly fun to toy with: Ferocious Seagull, Precocious Beagle, you get the drift—The Sea Anemone leaves me longing for a little action—or, at least, for the band to finally draw some blood. JASON SIMMS.
Ferocious Eagle celebrates the release of The Sea Anemone Inside of Me is Mighty Friday, March 16, with Old Growth at Tonic Lounge. 9:30 pm. Cover. 21+.Ferocious Eagle's full-length debut winks and teases, but doesn't deliver.