Evans the Death

Expect Delays

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Evans the Death's self-titled first album burst forth with the energetic fervor of youth, the group tearing through songs like it was a race to the finish, while vocalist Katherine Whitaker rode the churning waves of sound like a champion surfer. Their second album is a bleaker, more resigned and bitter affair. Recorded over a three-year span during which the bandmembers suffered through poverty and breakups, Expect Delays trades the fire of youth for the weary desperation that comes with growing older, and while it's a different kind of album, it works just as well. Where Evans the Death felt like the work of a band reveling in the noise it was making, Expect Delays is more like an intense and violent therapy session that plays out in short blasts of passion and dismay. The band shows more restraint, holding back on the guitar attack only to unleash it where it will do the most damage, while adding more keyboards and more fleshed-out arrangements. To that end, Expect Delays is a more musically diverse album, as well as a more nuanced emotional experience thanks to arrangements that feature Whitaker's very striking vocals in a way that allows for maximum impact. There are still songs that sound like alternate-universe pop singles, like the Pretenders-esque "Sledgehammer" and "Bad Year," tracks that have all the swagger and punch of their debut ("Enabler," the shoegazey "Clean Up"), and a few that head out in pleasing new directions. The acoustic guitar-led "Just 60,000 More Days 'Til I Die," which wobbles and warbles like a working-class Cocteau Twins, and the heavily reverbed dirge pop of "Waste of Sunshine" are two examples of the band stretching its sound and doing it well. Overall, Expect Delays is a stunning second record that captures all the band's roiling emotions and wraps them into a package that's just as exciting, but even more interesting, than the first album. It's exactly what a second album should be, and it's rare that any band delivers as well as Evans the Death do here.

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