Sitting in a green-room wearing a velvet jacket so radiant that it makes the lightbulb jealous, David Santos makes a beat-up chair at the Iron Horse Music Hall glisten like a Persian chaise lounge at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Such is the effect that the co-lead singer and principle songwriter of Eddie Japan has on the rock and roll song.
It’s a contagious attitude of doing it up, and doing it up right that you can hear in the carnival swirls of ultra-melodic pop, latin-flavored bravado and cinematic ‘70s UK rock (the kind that a young Morrissey picked-up on) lingering in the air of Eddie Japan’s debut full-length "Golden Age" (to be released July 18). It’s a snarl that sticks in the opening missive of “E Cabaret /When the Morning Comes,” where Santos chides us that “the couch is no substitute/ for a bit of champagne and a tailored suit”—the imperative lodged in the pulse supplied by Chuck Ferreira (drums) and Charles Membrino (bass). Eddie Japan want you to get off your asses and party. Because after all, if you are going to get up on stage with an eight-piece band, you might as well look good and more to the point, feel good doing it.
That was Eddie Japan’s motto as they marched across five-years as one of the Northeast’s most acclaimed bands (accolades include a Boston Music Award, a crown in the prestigious Boston Rock & Roll Rumble (whose previous winners include ‘Til Tuesday and the Dresden Dolls), their 2015 single “Albert” appearing in Rock Band 4, a tour with Martha Davis and the Motels, and stages shared with The Fixx, Midge Ure, Will Dailey, Ruby Rose Fox, Kingsley Flood, Air Traffic Controller, Mean Creek, Jenee Halstead plus many more) towards their highly anticipated debut full-length album, "Golden Age," recorded in Boston with Benny Grotto (Mad Oak Studios) and Sean McLaughlin (37' Productions) and co-produced by the The Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes.
According to Santos, the “Golden Age” of the album’s namesake exists “between the reality of day and the fantasy and romanticism of night”–two sides of a coin providing a font of inspiration to the dandy and dignified vocalist, who now in his forties finds himself for once relishing a clear outlook on life (and wanting to enjoy the hell out of it).
“It seems to me that we're not as deliberate about our nightlife in this day and age. The romantic aspects of night have disappeared in lots of ways; like when you hear people say ‘Netflix and chill’ or ‘I hate staying out late!’ So ‘Golden Age’ refers to a time when night seemed to mean a lot more.”
And so with this departure point, Eddie Japan gets you dressed up and takes you out on the town. The feeling is there in the brooding top-down cruise through the city center in “1 a.m.” (also the first video from the album). The feeling is also there in the arms-in-the-air exaltation that can be heard in the vintage Bronx, mariachi-meets-disco vibes of “Hit the Floor” (essential trumpet lines throughout the album provided by Eric Ortiz). It’s there again in the sun-coming-up resignation felt in the resplendent beauty of the Bowie-tinged ballad “The End of Everything” (complete with Ronson-esque guitar acrobatics from six-stringers Eric Brosius (Tribe) and Bart LoPiccolo)–all of this punctuated by incredibly hook-laden piano parts (some very reminiscent of the Cars) layered throughout the album by Aaron Rosenthal.
“To have the man who basically invented the new-wave keyboard sound in the studio with us was obviously inspiring,” says the Eddie Japan keyboardist. “Greg challenged me to consider different sounds and play things differently. Even if he hadn't said a word, just having him in the room, you can't help but think ‘what would Greg Hawkes do with this?’”
Finally, there is also a feeling of the new morning dawning, which brings with it of course a longing to do it all over again. In “Out of My Skin” co-lead vocalist Emily Drohan sings “All I want is to live this life/In the clothes I wore last night.” The expansion of Drohan’s role from backing-vocalist to co-lead singer creates the perfect foil for Santos—providing more push and pull within the performances. “We have this totally effortless blend between our voices that just makes everything so easy,” says Drohan. “David is such a dynamic performer, it's contagious. It's impossible not to get caught up in his enthusiasm on stage, and it just makes every show so much fun.”
With a reminder that we aren’t getting off easy with the album’s central metaphor, Santos nudges us that the ‘Golden Age’ also refers to feelings that one's best days have already past, but that they can be revived with new effort, or a new outlook. “There's so much to be gained embracing of the friction, or spark of life; between the happiness and sadness of existence,” says Santos. “Make your own ‘Golden Age.’ This album is a call for people to get up and get down!”.