The Weekly Jive

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Posted January 17, 2008 in Music

Evangelicals—The Evening Descends (Dead Oceans)

So let me get this straight: The point here is that the drugs are obviously stronger in Norman, OK—and the Evangelicals have snorted, eaten up and smoked every last transcendental detail of that collegiate burg and now find themselves horrored, alone and particularly giddy that nobody cares, a perfect Xanadu to pitch their surrender flags, and this album is a soul-train on two fat white rails headlong through a series of passing nightmares, spreeing madness and arms flailing, wheeling cosmos overhead and God tickling their stomachs at night while this psychiatric triage unit howls about strange and lucid things happening inside their heads, and still nobody cares. Well, I care. This shit’s danceable. Got that deep-down lunacy in the bones, very few coherent elements. Singer Josh Jones used to be the guitar tech for the Mooney Suzuki, if you can fucking believe that, and Christina Ricci is listed in the thankables like a buried muse in the rubble, and is it wrong to assume that she’s the monster growing inside our conscience in “Bellawood?” This is as damn close as white kids with privileged states of curiosity get to the edge, and if they don’t plunge into the abyss it’s got to be they’re taking a piss. (Chuck Mindenhall)

 

 

Levinhurst—House by the Sea (What Are Records?)

Levinhurst are former Cure drummer/keyboardist Lol Tolhurst and his missus Cindy Levinson (Levin-hurst—geddit?). As its title suggests, House by the Sea is an intimate affair, with a sense of retreat and relief befitting a collection made by a couple in the perma-shadow of Tolhurst’s dozen years in one of the world’s greatest (and drunkest) bands and the ensuing lawsuit ugliness. Opener “Nobody Cares” is House by the Sea in microcosm: David Sylvian-ish synth/percussion exotica and a Levinson melody which appears nursery rhyme-naïve until, mid-verse, it dips into gorgeous, tinted melancholy. Throughout the disc Levinson’s detached, girlish vocals veer from the pedestrian with subtle, unexpected inflections and innuendos, while live acoustic guitars and piano tastily temper the burbling electronica and almost meditative beats behind her. A vast step forward from their debut disc, House by the Sea is a comforting, contemplative follow-up aching with rainy Sunday nostalgia. (Paul Rogers)

 

 

Chris Walla—Field Manual (Barsuk Records)

Chris Walla developed his musical chops playing guitar for famed indie-rockers Death Cab For Cutie and producing bands like The Decemberists and Tegan And Sara. His first eponymous release, Field Manual, is Walla’s first attempt to give his own material the same serious time and energy that he spends on his other projects, but Walla’s efforts fall a little short. Musically, the album is about as stimulating as a Saturday night spent popping Vicodin and watching the Food Network—everything blurs together and seems culled from an unimaginative, flavorless recipe book—which is disappointing because the generic guitar work and typical boring indie-pop bass lines detract from Walla’s astute, brilliantly written political lyrics. Field Manual is almost entirely a political album, and though it stays far away from preachy, its lyrics make palpable Walla’s feelings of discontent. And as he sweetly sings sugarcoated melodies about the anger burning in our hearts—presumably with a political source—Walla’s music will invoke the same feeling of discontent in the listener. Which could be the point, but it probably isn’t. (Phil Fuller)

 

 

 

 

 


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