Album: Eichlers – IKE WORLD

Eichlers has become one of the most prolific artists in the last few years. In 2020 he quietly dropped his debut EP. In the next 2 years Eichlers began dropping more singles and before, in March of 2022, Eichlers dropped their 2nd album. This one was released on Bad Time Records and was pressed on vinyl and had started to grow a larger audience. With this album, Eichlers had essentially founded their own genre called hyperska, a blend of hyperpop and ska music that expanded ska into new places where it had basically never been before. Not content to sit still, a year later Ike (short for Eichlers, not their actual name) dropped an LP called “Days before MCF” with B sides and previously released singles (there were about a dozen singles that weren’t on the albums). Then, after another single between last year’s EP and the start of 2024, Eichlers dropped an acoustic album of slowed down acoustic emo versions of some of his most popular tracks and another new song. Now, less that 6 months later, Eichlers has dropped another full length album with 12 songs. Releasing singles every few weeks before each album, rarely does a month go by where Eichlers doesn’t put out a song. Despite the frequent output, the quality continues to climb. 

Eichlers third album is 12 tracks (including a short instrumental intro, but excluding the 2 short interludes ) spanning less than 24 minutes. The album begins with a short intro track that slowly builds tension and volume as you hear a door swing open as the music approaches it’s climax, and with the sound of the door opening, you’ve entered Ike World- Hi.

The first actual track on the album is “Tongue v Cheek” and it introduces us with a familiar sample- “Guard this with your life, dude”. Eichlers has used this sample a few times before and it’s a staple of his music, but then we get a piano intro, and what I believe to be that fastest beat in any Eichlers song. The blending of hyperpop, electronic rhythms, and pop punk all feels familiar, but we there is a lack of ska rhythms. The song feels a little melancholy- which is a familiar theme for Eichlers, despite the turned up rhythm and the familiar undercurrent rhythm of E-I-C-H-L-E-R-S playing below the song. This blend of familiar themes with new rhythms is clearly intentional and at the front of the album for a reason. Eichlers has reached his most success with the creation of hyperska, but doesn’t want to grow complacent by repeating the sound he’s already made. He’s moving into new territory, but also using the same samples to bridge that gap. And the transition is seamless. 

The second track, “Hindsight is 420” continues this trend, but in a completely different way. Aside from the great sped up electronic video game music tempo and the bass drops, this song begins with a retrospective of, what seems to be a relationship with a friend, but ends seeming to be more retrospective of the previous album, and his own emotional state. The song borrows lyrics from several previous songs, but often twisting them. Instead of “I think I just wrote a fucking hit”, the new lyric is “I think I just flipped another flop”. 

While songs about lack of confidence and insecurity are nothing new to Eichlers at all, in the past some seemed light hearted and even accompanied with self deprecating jokes (i may b cute but im dumb af so please don’t get ur hopes up). On this album, the introspection feels more real and the pace being faster, the production being better, and everything sounding lighter and cleaner somehow serves to make it feel more real and authentic. “Say it Back” is the first hyperska song on the album, and it’s chorus of “I thought that I could change, I thought you’d stay the same” feels completely heartbreaking as I’ve rarely related more to a lyric about a failed relationship.

“Damn rip” has more acoustic guitar and is an introspective about the success of being able to go on tour, and knowing that he should feel excited for getting all he’s wanted, but not being able to appreciate it, and possibly feeling guilty not being happy. This theme is revisited several tracks later on “Live, Laugh, LUFS”, where he is very direct with the chorus “For the record I’m having a bad time, took a second but I’m starting to realize,maybe I got everything I wanted, maybe I’d be happy with little to nothing”. 

Every song on this album pumps me up. Each track flows into the next and the transition of genre and tempo happens during the songs instead of between the tracks. The last song, an acoustic track, flows perfectly into the intro, making the album a perfect album to listen to on a loop, and with its 22 minutes of run time, its easy to do without getting bored. 

Typically, I don’t listen to hyperpop or emo music. This is well outside my normal wheelhouse, and when I realized most of the ska elements were being removed, I didn’t think I would enjoy the album. Instead, it’s clear that this is the best music that Eichlers has written. From the lyrics to the beats, the play with pacing and tempo, the blend from electronic and synths to acoustic guitars, the heavy bass drops are even better than before. The vocals have progressed with every album. Regardless of what music you like, this album is worth listening to. I didn’t even discuss my favorite songs from this album- two of the pre-release singles, “So True Bestie” and “No Good Dudes”. The songs I mentioned best fit the themes of the album, as I interpret it, but the other songs are the best individual tracks, and they fit on the album perfectly. 

I don’t doubt that Eichlers will keep putting out great music, and continue to excel at his craft. I hope he’s able to find more happiness and peace of mind while he does it.

Written by Gimpleg