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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Evangelicals
The Evening Descends
Dead Oceans

Rating: 9/10 ?


February 4, 2008
I recently returned from a work trip to Paris, France, my first foray into the wider world outside of North America. One of the most important things I learned during my short time abroad is that crazy people exist everywhere. It may take a day or two to get accustomed to the language barrier and the different traditions of a foreign land, but soon enough you'll see that insanity runs rampant across the globe. Whether it be a vagrant arguing with himself on a street corner, or a woman talking on her cell phone while crossing the street - through traffic and against the green light (oblivious to the cars screeching to a panicked halt in order avoid hitting her) - early indicators of a man-made apocalypse exist all around us, no matter where we are… But are belligerence and soliloquies signs of a species destined to a doom of their own creation, or are they simply signs of life for people who buck life in a by-the rules, cookie-cutter world? Individuality may be difficult to find on a planet of over six billion people, but at least there are people (crazy people?) making an attempt at it.

In the United States, Oklahoma seems to produce a particular type of maniac, ones capable of turning their insanity into fruitful albums. Perhaps there is little else to do for Okies slightly askew - the Flaming Lips, Starlight Mints and Chainsaw Kittens all hail from the Sooner State and have all released peculiar and interesting (to say the least) albums. Having come fully into the odd light of their panhandled state, Evangelicals have stepped it up a notch with their second album, an effort proving them truly worthy of a place at the table that Wayne Coyne built.

On The Evening Descends, the Norman-based quartet use lo-fi B-movie quality sound effects, layers upon layers of music, and a host of effects pedals to concoct a wicked potpourri, in the process churning out a soundtrack to the trippiest nightmare you will hopefully never have. Or, if you prefer one of those old-school anecdotal name-checking analogies, it would do the band no wrong to compare their sound on this album to that of the Shins and Menomena, alternately fist-fighting and making out, in the fogged-up depths of a Chevy Nova parked atop the cracked, weed-riddled asphalt of a decrepit drive-in theater, circa 1979.

Right out of the gate the album's title track - with muffled voices and feedback interrupted by a piercing scream and a lovely chant of the band's name - attempts a what-to-expect safety briefing to ease the brunt of the pending ramshackle ride into Crazytown. As far as introductions go it borders on disturbing, but it's perfectly in line for the rest of The Evening Descends. The off-camber greeting is immediately followed-up by "Midnight Vignette" and "Skeleton Man," a back-to-back pairing of highlights that send different types of shivers right out the speakers and down the spine. Some jaded been-there-heard-that types may consider the four young men of Evangelicals as graduates of the musical school taught by influential Chicago pre-emo darlings Cap'n Jazz, with their off-balanced emotional pop and talk-sing vocals, but when the fuzzed-out layers of keys and guitars coalesce it becomes more likely that these guys skipped school altogether, electing instead to chill in a daisy field and absorb all that Iron Butterfly had to offer. It's probably safe to say there's a combination of both at work in this band.

While music in general - and the independent-slash-underground variety in particular - has seen a lot of creative genre bending over the last few years, few bands have managed to blend so many divergent sounds and styles together to make such an interesting, great-sounding, and cohesive [key word] record as Evangelicals have with The Evening Descends. Anyone who makes it through the album once unscathed is recommended to do an about-face and start again at the beginning. Subsequent romps through The Evening Descends will reveal different things (and, in the gasping comprehension, unavoidable comparisons will be made to the kookiest bands around), but one thing can be understood universally from the get-go: Evangelicals are weird.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig

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