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The Story of Eric’s Trip’s Love Tara

Eric’s Trip was an underrated staple of the 90’s indie scene. The first Canadian band signed to renowned Sub Pop; their fame never reached the heights of their grungier label-mates Nirvana. Nevertheless, their music should not be dismissed as a sign of the times. Members Rick White, Chris Thompson, Julie Doiron and Mark Gaudet created the lo-fi, melodramatic masterpiece that is Love Tara. The lyrical storytelling begs not only to be heard, but felt. 

The album opens with an acoustic folk-inspired song titled “Behind the Garage” sung by White. The first line asks a rhetorical question: “What would you like to talk then,” adding dismissively “since everything I say doesn’t make sense?” The listeners are thrust in the midst of a tense relationship, further exemplified by the lyric “Keep your feet away from me you said trying to close you out of my cold head.” We feel White’s desire to rekindle the relationship after some wrongdoing, whilst his partner hesitates and tries to move on. As it turns out, this song is about fellow bandmate Doiron. White and Doiron were not only creative partners, but romantic partners. Love Tara is an open journal about their relationship’s undoing. 

Around the time the band was being signed to Sub Pop, their relationship was on rocky grounds, both deciding to break up — which lasted only a few days. Though a short time, it was enough time for White to explore a relationship with Tara Landry, an underground indie it-girl. With this unbeknownst to Doiron, she and White got back together. It wasn’t until she found his taped-up journal that she learned about the short relationship between White and Landry. White admits that he had his eye on Landry since before the breakup, something that especially hurt Doiron.

In her solo song “A secret for Julie” she laments, “A wrongful act I will not forget/ My love and heart are too strong to let you out of my life.” In the same breath, she acknowledges how hurt she was by White’s actions and her willingness to overlook it on behalf of her love for him. It’s the typical relationship cliché — looking past a partner’s wrongdoings in a sad delusion of true love. The next verse, it seems, she comes back to a realist perspective. She tells White “You really hurt me you make me feel like it’s all my fault” to which he responds in later song “Spring.” She ends by begging to herself not to go back again. The delivery of the song is as if you were reading aloud your diary, following Doiron through the emotional ups and downs of coping with a dying relationship. 

Five songs after “A secret for Julie” plays “Spring,” another song sang only by White. It seems to be his confessional, starting with a bold “I want you but I’m not sure you’d still want me.” Despite his relationship with Landry, he still wants Doiron, admitting “I know that I’m an asshole.” This album is extremely transparent in the sense that both parties are unapologetically admitting their feelings and truths. As a listener you feel like a witness to White and Doiron’s love story. Mentioned previously, White directly responds to Doiron, “You think it’s all/ Your fault/ But I don’t.”  He accepts that his brief relationship with Landry is only the fault of his own actions. 

The final song of the album features both vocalists and is aptly named “Allergic to Love.” In a duet they sing “Cause I’m alone when I’m not following you anymore,” reaffirming they both still have love for each other. Which is consistent with the timeline of their relationship, as they were still casually seeing each other during the writing of this album. However, just as the song disintegrates into an unintelligible mumble, so does their relationship — finally fizzling out a year after.

Part of what makes this album so great is that it doesn’t feel like either person is trying to win an argument or come out on top of the breakup. The stripped-back instrumentals and low fidelity recording style makes you feel as if both parties were in their room just confessing their feelings. The tragically relatable tale of a confusing heartbreak in your twenties makes Love Tara an album that refuses to fall into obscurity. 

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