A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Label: Paper Rock Scissors
Every once in a while, a record will show up in the inbox, out of the blue, containing miracles wonders and epiphanies. A band that would raise the hair on yr arms, if you were to hear it on the radio or on a listening station. You get bombarded by a huge amount of anonymous, soulless commercial music, as a freelance album reviewer, and records like We Ache For The Moon by Evoletah are mandatory for keeping the enthusiasm up.
Matt Cahill led the Australian group The Violets for 13 years, living out his Pop Star dreams, but quickly began to tire of the disposable nature of the Pop treadmill. He remembers a time when an album was an event and created Evoletah (HateLove backwards) to create something deeper, richer, and more complex. We Reach For The Moon pulls this off, creating an album that will sit on yr turntable for years; the kind of record you meditate on, hang out with, get to know.
Evoletah belong to the same art-rock trajectory of bands like Radiohead, blending soulful vocals with clean, powerful, intricate guitars and half an orchestra’s worth of additional instruments, violin piano double-bass saxophone finger cymbals Fender Rhodes. Cahill’s old band The Violet claimed David Sylvain as an influence, and you can hear traces of “the most beautiful man in pop in the airy aria-like vocals”, as well as echoes of another Chamber Rocker, Scott Walker, in the music as well as the singing. Dense and cinematic arrangements, full of unpredictability and unexpected delights, smack you upside the head like a kiss, keep you returning back for more. We Ache For The Moon fluctuates back and forth between more straightforward, rockist numbers (‘Halfway’), piano ballads (‘Time’) downtempo jazz (‘Guillotine’, featuring award-winning songbird Katie Underwood) and post-rock symphonic wandering (album closer ‘Thirteen Moons’). It is the way that these layers keep swapping and switching out, turning like pages in an epic novel, that make this an edge of yr seat listening experience, exciting and thrilling, never dull, and will keep you returning for more, like a hummingbird to sugar water.
Every instrument is captured in glorious glowing detail, furthering the symphonic agenda and really gets the mood going. Special nods to the drummer, whose crisp funky breakbeats keep this record driving and sound flipping great; it is the sound of the drums that makes the difference between a record sounding cheap or powerful and polished, and the drums make We Ache… sound entirely professional. The drums draw you in and make you pay attention, and then you begin to notice the masterful performances of the guitars, from pastoral finger-picked acoustics to head-spinning choruses and echoed delays, all delivered with precision, restraint, and control. Matt Cahill claims this is his favorite guitarist in the entire world, and it’s easy to see why.
Once these individual elements line up, you realize that Evoletah ARE truly something special, masterful musicians with experience and chops, and the instincts to make masterful, classical, adventurous and interesting Pop. We Ache For The Moon is the sound of this Australian outfit hitting their confident stride, and they have made something artful and enduring, worthy of attention and of returning to.
The cover of We Ache For The Moon is a Seurat-like painting of gray, rain-slicked streets. Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are entering the windy Autumn, and specifically in the Pacific Northwest where i am typing presently, we are entering the rainy half of the year. The clouds are silver, and there’s raindrops on the windows. It’s introspective and romantic, the time of year for remembering and daydreaming. Evoletah sound tremendous with the windows open, with grand pianos and mahogany orchestral maneuvers tangoing on the breeze.
Thoughtful, romantic, masterfully executed, pure of heart.
Evoletah are on to something special, hitting their stride, and you are advised to climb on board and take a pleasure cruise.
Recommended for fans of: Radiohead, David Sylvain, Scott Walker, Goldfrapp, The Hungry Ghosts, Carissa’s Wierd, Nick Cave