evolteah - We ache for the Moon
EVOLTEAH is an Australian (Adelaide) quartet from that put the 'down' in land down under. We ache for the Moon is a collection of songs that carefully balances late-night jazz with foggy soft rock. If lipstick-stained collars, cigarette burns and empty wine glasses were converted into music, this is what it would sound like.
The entire album is shrouded in humble melancholia and the songs enter moments of beauty and self-destruction in equal measure. The opener "Halfway" features shimmering guitar work that leads into the ghostly harmonies that fill the song's end space. The next track begins pleasantly enough, with quiet piano and percussion and collaborator Katie Underwood's earthen voice slowly building up to an erotic jazz coda, whereupon we, the audience, are treated to Underwood's own sultry vocal response.
The opening one-two punch of We ache for the Moon is a long one (the two songs’ total almost ten minutes) but exemplifies the album's MO: drawn-out despondence that feels like forever even if it's only two-something minutes. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Cahill is particularly effective at changing an otherwise pleasant day. His spindly vocals crawl across the tracks like a glass spider searching for its web. It is very complimentary to the delicate music his band mates produce. Not to say the music itself is weak; quite the opposite. Each expansive track takes its time engulfing the listener in blues (the feeling, not the music). "The Eleventh Hour," which begins with some backwards tape loops, gives way to simple and simply mournful piano and string composition with horn. The dreariness is almost debilitating, and toward the end, when a ghost seemingly whispers, "Close your eyes," you won't want to for fear of what's there. God, and that wailing at the end…
"Black & Blue" is also powerful in its simplicity, sounding almost like a Xiu Xiu track if Xiu Xiu sang about normal things like metaphors for pain. Though the compositions are usually spot-on, the band sometimes misses the mark. "Drive" would do better if the vocals were more pronounced and "Thirteen Moons" wears the Slowdive disguise thin and ultimately feels like pointless inclusion. And yet, even the mistakes left me with a sense of empathy. Few bands I've recently heard manage to capture the austerity of human sadness without sounding desperate for empathy. I suppose its because Evoletah seeks none; We ache for the Moon is, above all, an album of confidence in the face of bleakness, not seeking to relate the everyday pains we feel but rather confront them.
Definitely an album best heard by yourself.
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