Review ·
Mess is less on the second album from Oklahoma psych-rock band Evangelicals. There’s nothing wrong with a sprawling album, per se, as Pink Floyd’s Meddle and Blur’s 13 attest to. But a sprawler is always a dangerous gambit for a band. It can easily trip over the line from cracked genius into failed experiment, as The Evening Descends does.

Evangelicals’ 2006 debut, So Gone, was already an eclectic affair, but it stayed anchored in stellar songs like “Hello, Jenn, I’m a Mess” and “The Water Is Warm.” There isn’t a similar standout to point to here. In fact, the record really isn’t song-based as much as it is a streaming cornucopia of music and noise -- in the form of old movie clips, band members mumbling, and, most insipid of all, Evangelicals staging little radio plays complete with mimed machinery noise.

The band does best when it sounds most like it did on So Gone, a debut that showed plenty of promise. “Snowflakes” unfolds over pretty, languid arpeggios. After an opening that really recalls a song off The Wall’s third or fourth side, “Here in the Deadlights” settles down into a brighter, breezier groove that much of So Gone succeeded in. And “Skeleton Man” is the album’s most coherent tune, charging along on the type of pulsing bass line used so well in Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” and Electrelane’s “To the East.”

The song “Stoned Again,” and the overall druggy haze the album emits, got me thinking that the old Spacemen 3 equation “Take drugs to make music to take drugs to” only works out if both the drugs and the music are of high quality. Evangelicals must have gotten dealt some bad shit, because this isn’t exactly an enjoyable trip. At the end of The Evening Descends, on “Bloodstream,” lead Evangelical Josh Jones claims, “I was sleeping/ I must have been dreaming.” Maybe next time around this band will wake up to its true potential. Or at least get a better hookup on the pharmaceuticals.

***
Band: http://www.myspace.com/evangelicals
Label: http://www.deadoceans.com

  • The Evening Descends
  • Midnight Vignette
  • Skeleton Man
  • Stoned Again
  • Party Crashin'
  • Snowflakes
  • How Do You Sleep?
  • Bellawood
  • Paperback Suicide
  • Here In the Deadlights
  • Bloodstream
Koop - Koop Islands Brian Grosz Bedlam Nights
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oh man! I keep hearing from everyone how awesome this album is. haven't had a chance to check it out yet. But nice to get a dissenting opinion.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/joydivided/charly.jpg joydivided

So, when I go over to top reviews on this site I see where the average rating is a 7. Honestly, even that isn't near high enough for me. I loved virtually every track. The songwriting is great. I think it must have been this reviewer that got

Dan

4 .5 outta 10.. you are nuts.. this is a great album

wow

Great album. I'd rate it ~8 out of 10.

Toad

well, i am listening to this album now with headphones and checking out all the posts because i am blown away by this group. got clued into them yesterday on XM radio. i will never return to this site because i believe this is one of the best damn cds i have heard in three or four years. just damn good.

samtheman

The entire music community appears to disagree with you.

NLP

It's true, John. Six people is the entire music community.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

The people who have written every review I've seen disagree with John.

NLP

the album seems to be getting good review in general from music critics.

i'd also like to point out that a score on any given review is not the end all be all sentiment for an album on Prefix. we focus and hire writers that have a taste and background for what we listen to, but there will be times when we don't all agree on a review. it happens.

with that said i like the album. i rated it an 8 and i think john did a fine job in writing the review of the record. i think he backed up his score well.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

If I thought that elements like camp and irreverance were inherently "insipid" in music, I might be more inclined to agree with the reviewer, but to each his own. Beyond that, the main contension here seems to be that the record as a whole, or perhaps maybe most of the individual tracks, are somehow incoherent or don't feature more immediately definable song structure. For one thing, I don't neccesarily agree with that assessment as the album features some fairly straight-forward song writing at its core, and again, I don't necesssarily believe that incoherence and noise in music are inherently bad things.

And a 4.5 is not a score that says "you know, this didn't really click for me but I can see how other people might like it" or "this is a moderately commendable effort in a musical direction I can't really appreciate". A 4.5 is taking a crap on an album, pronouncing it to be all but worthless and putting it in such dubious company as Silversun Pickups (in John Zeiss' Prefixmag portfolio).

While this album may not deserve universal acclaim, it certainly doesn't deserve that.

NLP

a 4.5 isn't crapping on an album at all. not at Prefix anyways.
no comment on Silversun Pickups.
but i'm not a fan.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Yeah, I'm not either.

NLP

A 4.5 is for sure crapping on an album. I've heard it, I like it. I've downloaded several songs which is more than I can say for Vampire Weekend for God's sake. This group is different in the extreme and some people just can't handle those who won't stay inside the lines.

Red

Wow, stirring up some controversy. That's always good. For what it's worth, assigning the rating out of 10 on an album for the review always seems both the most arbitrary yet also the most complicated part of the process. Arbitrary because, in the end, it's just picking a number out of the air. But complicated because of all the factors that go into it - how the album compares to others by the band, others that I'm listening to at the time, etc. If I had it all to do over again, I would give the first Evangelicals album a higher rating than I originally did. I imagine in five years I'll still be revisiting that one. And this album just didn't impress me like current albums from Sian Alice Group, Ida, and Mia Doi Todd.

That said, I didn't realize I gave this the same rating I gave the Silversun Pickups CD. I find Evangelicals to be a much more vital, intriguing band than the Pickups. I'll definitely be interested to see what Evangelicals does next.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/broctoon/jar.jpg broctoon

Pink Floyd Blur Pink Floyd Arcade Fire Electrelane Spacemen 3 Sian Alice Group Ida Mia Doi Todd-- I can't stand this. Entirely off-base.

BKBKBK

amazing!album of the year so far.

sk

Look, Pink Floyd is not too far off based when you listen to the song

SALIB

they do sound like the electrelane voice

love ittttttt

madeline

prefix, you guys are high-horse pricks.

mama marmalade

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