By Ed Watkins – contributor
The book “The Monkey Bible” is an ambitious title looking to bridge the gap between creationism and evolution. Eric Maring’s companion album “The Line” echoes the theme, exploring the two mentalities with thought provoking lyrics and whimsical melodies. This theme is established on the album’s second track “Welcome to the Line,” which opens with ambient jungle sounds before transitioning to a driving percussion and resonant piano accompaniment. With lyrics like “lines drew thin or thick with time, I’ll cross yours if you cross mine, welcome to the line,” the track invites listeners to an open debate rather than directly challenging their beliefs.
The mood of the track “Into the Attic” is established by the relaxing rhythm of raindrops and the faint sound of thunder. From there, the track segues into a stylish blues bass line and laid-back lyrics that firmly establish a mood of melancholy and doubt. From there the album effortlessly transitions into the optimistic song “Wide as a Wave,” further establishing the theme of duality and the lines that separate two trains of thought.
“Monkey See, Monkey Do” is perhaps the most creative track on the album. The style and overall cadence of the song are very similar to both a ragtime jazz song and something you would hear on a carnival midway. The pace is both frantic and erratic with a tempo that rises and falls. With lyrics that seem to be inspired by Dr. Seuss, the end result must have been as much fun to record as it is to listen to.
“A Matter of Design” is a thought provoking song asking questions like “Are we all really different today? Are we getting our answers? Is thunder any less of a wonder or do we just ponder it less when we’ve got our wireless?” The track never really attempts to answer these questions, but rather provide the listener with some food for thought. The album, much like the book that inspired it, is an interesting concept. The diverse assortment of instruments and James Taylor-like lyrics and vocal style are sure to please any fan of acoustic or folk music.