There were all sorts of reasons for me to play songs off of Oomalooma, the debut album from Eugenius, when it arrived at my college radio station, in 1992. First and foremost, there was the presence of Eugene Kelly as the band’s chief creative force. Kelly was one of the key members of the band the Vaselines, a group Kurt Cobain, recently installed as the voice of my generation, couldn’t stop talking about. Eugenius could also claim personnel, at one point or another, from buzzy bands like Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits. Then there was the helpful hook of the band changing their name from Captain America because of threatened legal action by Marvel Comics, exactly the sort of story perfectly suited for the brand of between song chatter favored by my on-air brethren. Topping it all off, there was a cow on the front cover. Nestled in the middle of Central Wisconsin, the folks at my station naturally gravitated to any song that allowed us to reference the large mammal that earned the state the nickname “America’s Dairyland.”
It’s possible some or even all of the criteria above factored into my shift-to-shift decisions to integrate something from Oomalooma into my playlist. However, knowing myself, I suspect the only thing I needed to know was that one of the tracks on the album was entitled “Flame On.” My comic book geekiness ran deep and strong. A band that took a song title from the two-word phrase Johnny Storm hollered when he ignited into action as the Human Torch was a band that I needed to celebrate, maybe no matter how good or bad the music was. Luckily, the music was good, exactly the sort of power-pop-tinged guitar rock that briefly found favor as a catchier alternative to shoegaze. I didn’t always make my musical selections for the shrewdest or most well-informed reasons. Luckily, I was making those choices in a place where it was hard to go wrong.
Listen or download –> Eugenius, “Flame On”
(Disclaimer: I believe Oomalooma to be out of print as a physical item that can be easily procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that properly compensations both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. I could be wrong. There was a reissue about six years ago that could still be in print, but that also looks difficult enough to come by that I question its ready availability. Regardless, I am sharing the song here with no intent to harm the commerce of anyone who deserves to profit off of this artistic creation. I will gladly and promptly remove the track from the interweb if asked to do so by any entity or individual with due authority to make such a request.)