After two albums of intense, energetically noisy indie pop that showed they weren't a band to play it safe, Evans the Death take a flying leap deeper into the unknown on their third record, Vanilla. Recorded quickly using first takes, the band pummel their way through a batch of songs that are frantically angry and warped in ways that they only hinted at before. More influenced by the spiky sound and feel of the original wave of U.K.
On last year’s Expect Delays, Evans the Death took their dark outlook and ran it through melodic, almost upbeat blends of older pop and alt-rock. The highly entertaining record had its unsettling moments with a little bit of grating that never quite allowed for a comfortable rest. Back now with Vanilla, the band pushes further in the direction it was already heading, pulling in more influences while scraping away some of the pop that had been the skeleton for its work, making Vanilla both the most complex and most impressive work the band has yet done.
With their self-titled 2012 debut and its 2015 follow-up Expect Delays, Evans the Death firmly established themselves as one of the best indie pop bands around. Their grungy, crunchy guitars, poppy hooks and Katherine Whitaker’s gorgeous voice were a combination made in heaven, and after two slam-dunks, the question in the back of everyone’s minds was, 'what now?' Listening to Vanilla feels like listening to the band ask themselves that very question, coming close to answering it, but never quite getting there - in a good way. Having reassured their listeners for most of opener ‘Haunted Wheelchair’ that it’s still very much them, the strange chaotic breakdown in its middle eight and the bipolar hopping between funk pop verses and punk proper choruses on the next track ‘Suitcase Jimmy’ make you sit up and go 'what’s this? What are they doing?' The question of what kind of band they are continues throughout the rest of the album, giving it a sense of playfulness but also of chaos and instability that embodies the lyrics of ‘Haunted Wheelchair’s refrain: “I’m exactly where I want to be…Why is this happening to me?” The hints of funk and soul infused into their trademark indiepop sound throughout Vanilla blend surprisingly well.