Ball of Wax 41 Songs: Golden Eels – Human Heart Attack

I don’t know how Athens, Georgia’s Golden Eels first found Ball of Wax – and lead Eel Neil Golden couldn’t remember either – but I’m very happy they did. Their album Periscopes in the Air, from which”Human Heart Attack” was taken, is a fantastic collection of songs in the finest tradition of ’90s college and indie rock (as seems appropriate, based on their location in one of ’90s indie rock’s meccas). The songs seem to have been written, performed, and produced in such a way as to get things just right without being overly fussy; projecting perhaps a bit of a slacker vibe (I mean, just check out the album cover) while creating enormously enjoyable and sonically interesting music.

I happened to listen to Beck’s “Sexxx Laws” for the first time in a long time the other day, and it occurred to me that “Human Heart Attack” is almost like a slowed-down, stretched-out version of that tune – which allows you to really steep yourself in the surrealistic wordplay and the layered instrumental hooks, especially the delightful interplay of electric and steel guitar. Golden has a great knack, not unlike Beck, for creating phrases that make no sense whatsoever, but flow together with a sense of inevitability and easily stick in your brain. It usually takes forever for me to remember or notice song lyrics, but within a few listens I couldn’t stop my self from singing along: “And I’ve got no more to say / I was evicted by the human race today / They shoved a knife in my back / and made it look just like a human heart attack.” It was tough to pick one track from Periscopes in the Air to feature on BoW, but something about the strange warmth of this one makes it the perfect closer to volume 41. More please!

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