With Fingerprints, Eli Young band examines love from multiple angles. And in some cases, love can seem like that proverbial hole in the head, as “A Heart Needs a Break” sarcastically confirms. Then again, romantic obsession makes us do things we regret – again and again, which is reluctantly addressed with “Never Again.” Mike Eli sings these (mostly) love songs atop a robust, pop-country backing.
The band has more on its mind than just romance, however, as the album opens with the spiritually-themed “Saltwater Gospel.” The song’s lyric speaks to those that find God out in nature (in this case, at the beach), far more comfortably than when all dressed up for church. One could quibble theologically with how this lyric conveniently leaves out how church is just as much horizontal (a place for humans to connect with one another), as it is vertical (humanity’s need to connect with God), but there are times when a church not made with hands – nature – is the best way to meet with the divine. God and nature also play into “God Love the Rain,” where a couple makes the best of rainy day weather by engaging in some intimate indoor activities.
The album’s title track applies a detective’s point of view on love, where Eli observes, “…you’re runnin’ from scene of a crime.” However, this project’s best track is a song all about songs, titled “Old Songs.” Its lyric contemplates the way songs, particularly old ones, can bring us right back into wonderful memories. It’s not a new lyrical topic, but Eli Young Band’s execution of it is perfect.
At times, one might wish Eli Young Band’s artistic ‘fingerprint’ was just a little more distinctive. But when the group hits the right emotional bull’s eye, as it often does with this latest release, it’s awfully difficult to find fault.