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The Evening Descends

The Evening Descends

4.5

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The Evening Descends

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

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<br/><p class="MsoNormal"><st1:PersonName><span >John</span></st1:PersonName><b ><span > </span></b><span >is 26<br/>and lives in </span><st1:City><st1:place><span >Los Angeles.</span></st1:place></st1:City><span > He teaches high school social<br/>studies, as he's done since graduating </span><st1:place><st1:PlaceName><span >Tulane</span></st1:PlaceName><span > </span><st1:PlaceType><span >University</span></st1:PlaceType></st1:place><span > in </span><st1:City><st1:place><span >New Orleans</span></st1:place></st1:City><span >. Through writing and editing for<br/>the arts and entertainment section of the student newspaper and deejaying for<br/>the radio station, he fell in love with indie rock.<o:p> <br/></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span >John was<br/>married in June to his beautiful wife, Marisa. She's finishing her masters degree<br/>at </span><st1:place><st1:PlaceType><span >University</span></st1:PlaceType><span > of </span><st1:PlaceName><span >Southern California</span></st1:PlaceName></st1:place><span > and has helped steep John in<br/>Pavement's back catalog and the allure of early Liz Phair records.<br/></span></p><span ><o:p> </o:p>After some<br/>misgivings about the metropolis, John loves living in L.A., for being able to<br/>find food from around the world on every block, for its improving mass-transit<br/>options and, of course, for so many concerts to see that it could drive him broke.<br/>John's an aspiring writer, but of fiction, not of screenplays.</span><span ><o:p><br/></o:p></span><span >John and<br/>Marisa have one dog, a chow mix named </span><st1:City><st1:place><span >Halle</span></st1:place></st1:City><span >; and two cats, an ocecat named<br/>Gigi and an orange tabby named Malkmus.</span><br/>

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