- Evangelicals »
- Dead Oceans »
The Evening Descends… An apt name, that, considering that almost every song on here takes place at night, or as night falls, or in a windowless room, or under the gloom of a winter sky, or in a misty dawn setting, or in some other way contrives to be set in the dark. Against this dim-lit backdrop, lyrical tales of despair, warped romance, ill-advised escapades and general mind-fuckery and emotional – you guessed it – darkness are played out, soundtracked by tunes of the throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mishmash school of songwriting. There’s some indie-pop in there; a bit of gospel choral work; a slight sprinkling of hair rock guitar lines; some emotive vocal samples; lots of windswept/atmospheric/emotional soundtracks…
I’m sure you get the picture: subtle music, this ain’t. Busily-complex and involved, maybe (although oddly, considering the amount of differing ingredients in here, the final product isn’t that intrinsically loud and doesn’t range too far outside one specific aural or emotional range); but not subtle. The emotional heartstring tugging in particular has all the delicacy of a wrecking ball: at one point the words “my mother would cry” are set off by the sample (mid-song, this is) of a woman crying. Of course, a hell of a lot of fantastic music is entirely subtlety-free, but Evangelicals rather seem to be pushing this trait into some uncharted and unwelcome netherworld on the other side of parody.
And it was around this point, dear reader, that the words ‘concept album’ started inching their way into my consciousness. The Evening Descends isn’t actually a concept album (at least, I can’t find any hard evidence saying it is), but the mixture of overblown seriousness and misfiring silliness, cut with a bludgeoning lack of subtlety and some well-worn-out running themes, mean it sure as hell sounds like it would’ve been if it’d been given half a chance. In fact, if you buy this I wouldn’t turn your back on it for too long in case it starts Getting Ideas and attempts to restructure your life along rock opera lines, and you suddenly find yourself playing a sensorially-deprived pinball match against Elton John.
God, that’s a shuddersome thought. I may go and seal this album in a reality-proof safe right now, to guard against that very eventuality; I mean, it’s not like I’m ever gonna want to listen to it again…