El Paso, TX-based shoegazers EEP — Rosie Varela (guitar, synth, bass), Brainville Studios‘ owner Ross Ingram (guitar, production), Sebastian Estrada (bass, synth), Serge Carrasco (guitar), and Lawrence Brown III (drums and percussion) — can trace their origins back to 2019 when founding member Rosie Varela approached Ross Ingram for his help to record a song she had just written at the time, titled “Hogar.” Varela then invited a collection of local music scene friends to help flesh out the song. What initially started out as a one-off song, quickly morphed into EEP, and their full-length debut, Death of a Very Good Machine.
Inspired by dream pop, shoegaze, the blues, jazz, classic rock and 60s psychedelia, the El Paso-based shoegazer outfit have managed to do things in a proudly DIY fashion: Death of a Very Good Machine was produced, engineered and mixed by the band’s Ingram with assistance from Estrada and Varela. Adding to the we’re-all-in-it-together ethos, each of the band’s five members contributed both backing and lead vocals to the album’s material.
The members of EEP managed to maintain the momentum of last year’s debut — despite the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic. Written during pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines, the El Paso-based quintet’s forthcoming sophomore effort Winter Skin reportedly finds the band expanding upon and deepening their exploratory take on shoegaze and dream pop.
A key component of the band’s evolution is the fact that there are no set roles within the band. While each of the individual members may have their main instrument, they’re all open to swapping out a guitar for a synth or helping with lyrics as needed. “None of the roles are rigid,” EEP’s Ingram says. “Which is part of what makes it exciting and fun, and part of why ended up with a record that’s got a lot of depth and variety to it, while still having a coherent sound.”
Winter Skin‘s first single “A Message to You” sees the band creating a song that sonically — to my ears, at least — is a synthesis of RIDE, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine-like shoegaze textures and early 90s grunge centered around the band’s unerring knack for crafting enormous, power chord-driven, arena rock friendly hooks paired with call and response-like vocals. Underneath the towering power chords, thunderous power chords and thunderous drumming is an earnest and empathetic plea to the heartbroken that simply says “I get it and I get you. It’s okay to be not okay.”
Winter Skin is slated for a November 5, 2021 release.