Release Date: May 1, 2012
Record label: Slumberland
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing,whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power. Listen to 'Evans the Death':. Related • Photos: Random Notes.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than picking out the earliest seeds of talent in an unimpressive new band. “Just you watch,” I say, “this band is going to be massive.” So it’s always a bit disconcerting when a band crashes down out of the blue fully formed. That’s why, when I first listened to Evans the Death, I figured it must be a new project from some 40-something Sarah Records veterans.
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.
What’s in a band name? And what, if anything, does it say about the artist? Take the band Evans the Death, for example. What would you surmise about the band’s sound from such a name? It hints at something dark and otherworldly, but the name is actually a Dylan Thomas reference: Evans the Death share their name with the undertaker (hence “the Death” part) in Thomas’ Under Milk Wood radio drama and stage play, so perhaps folk, or baroque pop. In actuality, it’s none of the above, which is only one aspect of a band that’s surprisingly multifaceted.
Evans The Death waste no time easing you in to their self-titled debut album, opening with ‘Bo Diddley’ and its instantly catchy guitar riffs. The song borrows a little from its namesake, but with Katherine Whitakers’s distinctive vocals it’s clear it’s their own. Lyrically, the album is as intelligent as previous singles would have you believe, with lines like ‘The sun is coming up like a hungover socialite” on ‘Sleeping Song’ being simultaneously witty and slightly, surreally, beautiful.