When Things Should Work, And Do Work

First of all, I should say that I don't feel entirely qualified to write a review of the Evens' album because I don't know shit about Amy Farina. I know there's a Warmers track on my 20 Yrs. of Dischord comp, but I don't really remember what it is or how it goes. So, if I say that track X sounds like [insert band here], and you wanna be like, "Hey jerkface, that sound is CLASSIC Amy Farina," well, maybe you're right.

On the other hand, Ian MacKaye is somebody whose...oeuvre?...I am pretty well acquainted with, so I can tell you that lovers of Fugazi are going to have a well-cut foothold with the Evens. This is especially true if you are down with the stuff they wrote for the Instrument soundtrack, and you aren't the kind of Fugazi listener who's going to get upset if you don't hear any screaming or discernable fuzz. With the Evens, you get lots of the heavily-plucked, clean-but-twangy bass notes - the ones that sit out all by themselves in the mix, as well as the politico-punk nursery rhyme vocals (the latter especially on the first two tracks of the Evens' album).

There's another pop element in there that makes me think of the Beauty Pill, or maybe even Whip-Smart-era Liz Phair. I'm guessing this is the Amy Farina sound, since that other stuff is so Ian MacKaye. It's sort of an understated bounciness - a little bit playful, but keeping it's cool. I think this sound plays out a lot in the drums and the guitars, both of which are mostly pretty light and clean.

All in all, it's an album that sounds very unselfconscious, which is something that Ian has always been good at. It's also very accessible - something which Fugazi has not always been (Red Medicine, anybody?).

I hate to say this, since it sounds lazy and I did it with my last post as well, but I just don't think I have a list of recommended tracks on this album. They're all worth listening to - and maybe I haven't listened to it enough times to develop favorites. For now, I guess I'll draw special attention to "Sara Lee", since it has a melancholy that reminds me of "I'm So Tired" off of the Instrument soundtrack, and Ian's vocals are pretty adorable.

I give this album a firm "A".*

*Feel free to make your own sex jokes about what "a firm A" might actually mean.


Blogger d said...

I LOVE red medicine & I think it's totally accessible. that record was always on at one of my old jobs & when they stopped playing it, I missed it. (I wasn't alone, I had a conversation about missing it with a co-worker, we felt weird about being nostalgic for fugazi). it certainly seems like a lot of fugazi fans aren't feeling it, but it's certainly a good record for people who aren't so versed. I heartily recommend it howevah. I like me some birthday pony & that song that sounds like a deranged punk cheerleader going "I don't wanna be defeated! I don't wanna be defeated!" followed by guitar skronk.

10:43 AM, April 12, 2005  
Blogger Phil said...

Hey, I like Red Medicine too...parts of it...but regardless, you can't tell me that it's accessible at the same level as Repeater or 13 Songs or the Argument. All that crazy sax shit? Some of it is really weird.

10:47 AM, April 12, 2005  
Anonymous mike said...

Red Medicine is the one Fugazi album I don't own. I'll have to check it out - I love the weird stuff on End Hits.

10:52 AM, April 12, 2005  
Blogger d said...

aaaw cheez, what's wrong with crazy sax? look, I'm no avant-garde meister, so I can't say I'm deeply attracted to weird 'cause that would be a lie. I've been known to fall asleep at tonic. I'm just not very cool. hmmm...maybe I should go home & listen to red medicine again.

11:24 AM, April 12, 2005  
Anonymous Tina said...

I was finally able to listen to The Evens on the train today and can say that it's pretty good. Farina's drumming is pretty amazing though. Nice and interesting.

11:33 AM, April 12, 2005  
Blogger Pete said...

Point of Info: Farina is MacKaye's partner/wife (I don't know what their actual legal status is, or how they identify). The Evens is a family team.

8:56 AM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger d said...

no relation to the dylan/baez/ farina's right?

1:16 PM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger mary said...

she's actually geoff farina's sister. geoff of karate/secret stars and the seminal (for me anyway) no duh fanzine.

5:04 PM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger d said...

it figures that mac kaye's partner would have diy pedigree.

5:08 PM, April 15, 2005  

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