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Evans The Death - Expect Delays

"Expect Delays"

Evans The Death Expect Delays
20 March 2015, 11:30 Written by Hayley Scott
For a subgenre that is so reverentially discussed as shoegaze, it’s no surprise that people have been anticipating a revival of sorts since the early 00’s. Truth is, though, it never really went away – those hazy, circular guitar lines that drone with no shortage of feedback have been a quietly persistent theme in rock and indie music ever since its pinnacle, but there seems to be a particularly large swell of bands with a predilection for MBV-inspirited reverb and distortion of late.

Through proving that not all C86-indebted acts of today are just jangle and fey posturing, Evans The Death have already been needlessly bracketed under said revival, though subtle sonic comparisons are aplenty: bass-heavy "Terrified", for example, ebbs and flows like a classic shoegaze track. Katherine Whitaker’s voice is typically dulcet, but it’s nowhere near obscured or indistinct enough to warrant the full shoegaze ascription. Instead, it’s well-crafted, intelligent indie pop that best defines them.

With artistic maturation being an intrinsic part of any band's progress, it should come as no shock that Expect Delays is overall more accomplished than its predecessor. Like the best second albums, Evans The Death have honed their sound rather than completely negating the sprightly melodic-pop charm that made their debut so appealing; not so much picking up where the debut left off, but enhancing and refining it instead. Despite cleaning things up a bit on production, the band remain true to their tendency for lyrical pessimism, and it’s a welcomed non-departure for the dejected among us: look no further than the frantic frustration of "Bad Year"’ and the jagged despondency of "Idiot Button" for conviction.

There are so many nuanced triumphs here: Whitaker’s vital cadences atop of guitar distortion recalls a more vocal version of My Bloody Valentine’s sonic explorations – and although not a particularly unique affinity – it works incredibly well, and it’s not one bit contrived or unwarranted. Elsewhere the hurried fuzz of tracks like "Enabler" "Bad Year" and "Sledgehammer" are wonderfully counteracted by the contemplative quieter moments, like the introspective brilliance of "Waste Of Sunshine" and loud/quiet, frantic balladry of "Idiot Button".

In all, it's the band's discordant youthful cynicism and Whitaker's distinctive voice – both delicate and squalling - that prevail here, making Expect Delays a veritable success. It’s a quality that separates them from the rest of the modern indie pop contingent, while they simultaneously dispel the myth of the tricky follow-up. The difficult second album never sounded so effortlessly good.

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