From his days locally with the Steel Miners, and nationally with Gumball, Eric Vermillion has proven himself to be a wailer. He can come up with a sharp garage-rock groove, give it a solid bass line and belt out lyrics like his life depends on it.
His band The Full Counts has been performing as a four-piece. Prior to bringing it to the stage, however, Vermillion and drummer Mike Quinlan recorded the basic tracks for First Out at Electric Eye Recorders, with Vermillion handling rhythm guitar and bass duties. Then they invited friends over to flesh out the songs. Former Gumball guitarist Don Fleming contributes screaming leads to “(No You) Don’t Let Me Down” and “The One,” threatening to take things over the edge with his wild delivery.
While these cuts are the highlights of the album, other contributors help Vermillion create more than his usual chaos in the garage. On “Be With Me,” Ethan Winograd’s guitar leads are further emphasized by producer Michael Hickman’s 12-string guitar, which chimes in the background. Hickman also contributes mandolin, harmonica and lead guitar to the acoustic “Try Me On.” The other acoustic song, “On My Own,” finds a more subdued Vermillion backed by cello and piano, without losing any of its edge. A few of the songs could have been a tad shorter, but First Out (an eight-track record or 10-track CD) comes off like a strong debut, recorded with clarity.