Evans the Death

Evans the Death

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    8
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On their debut self-titled album, the London combo Evans the Death crib from all the right places. A little shoegaze noise, a bunch of jagged post-punk rumble, some thundering noise pop crescendos, the occasional spot of Wedding Present-style propulsion, and a healthy dose of assured girl-pop from all along the girl-pop time line (Blondie to the Shop Assistants to Veronica Falls) make up the group's sound. Top it off with the Morrissey-esque vocals of Katherine Whitaker and a batch of very strong songs, and Evans the Death easily become more than the sum of their parts. Whitaker is always the focus; her crooning, fluttering vocals are placed way out front as she weaves her way through guitarist/songwriter Dan Moss' witty words and melodies. She's best when she keeps herself in check and doesn't let the melody float away, especially on tracks where she attacks like a desperate lover ("Catch Your Cold," "I'm So Unclean") or grabs on tight to the rollicking, shuddering music and won't let go ("Bo Diddley," "Threads"). The bandmembers are also good at attacking the songs, hitting the choruses hard and playing the hell out of their instruments the rest of the time. It comes together like a finely tuned, highly deadly machine almost all the time, hitting pop gold on the album's best song, "Telling Lies." It has the kind of chorus Blondie would have traded all their skinny ties for. Good luck getting it out of your head, since it's stickier than a campfire singalong. The only time the album drags a touch is on the final song, "You're Joking," which is a guitar/voice ballad that feels just a little too "last song" to truly work and ends the record on a down note. Otherwise, Evans the Death is a stunning debut that may not change the way you think about indie rock, but the band plays with so much passion and the songs are so good, it doesn't matter that maybe you've heard it (in some form) before.

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