While Evans the Death have been around for a while now we thought it was time to bring them to your attention a little more fully. With punk pop riffs and a Smiths-esque turn of phrase this band have delivered a visceral but melodic debut.
Sarah Lay caught up with them at Indietracks 2012 to find out more about where they’ve come from and what they’re listening to.
Evans the Death have a ’90s thing going on. The record starts with a few seconds of bassline reminiscent of Leftfield at their most gut rumbling. Other touch points come thick and fast; grunge, indie, post punk, Britpop.
They tumble over each other, sounds of diamonds in the rough being sharpened to glinting point. Katherine Whitaker’s voice the light reflected and refracted back from the facets of sound.
Alongside the urgent, bubble of rhythm and melody they set themselves out as the finest of songwriters. Introspective, simple and honest, like Morrissey they find the poetic in the mundane, like Polly Jean Harvey they show vulnerability in their words and courage in delivery.
There is no pretence in lines such as “my dressing gown is my choice of apparel for this season” or “you put the fear of God into me, why did I watch that documentary”.ÃÂ It’s so very British in style, plenty of punk, sass and confidence. There is comfort, joy even, in the familiarity of the everyday being sung back at you. There is maturity beyond their years but a retained sense of innocence and fuck-you fun times.
The album is three-minute punk pop songs that document the now in a riot of sound; Whitaker’s idiosyncratic vocals murmuring and slicing above the warm, elastic melodies. Morning Voice and You’re Joking both in their own way, the essential love song of the disenchanted and the darkly romantic.
Acoustically (Dan and Katherine performed an acoustic set at Indietracks as well as the full band set on the main stage) the songs take on a more intimate and fragile quality. I Am So Unclean becomes a prosaic hymn of heart-wrenching loneliness while A Small Child Punched Me In The Face becomes more sinister, an uncomfortable feeling on a dark night.
The debut is dark, witty, vitriolic, gentle andÃÂ macabre. It’s a heady mix that is remains tight. It’s got a clear line of ancestry but a characteristic of its very own.
Evans the Death by Evans the Death is out now on Fortuna POP! records. Available on CD, download or LP.
As well as reviewing their debut Sarah caught up with the band in between their full and acoustic sets at Indietracks 2012.
LTW: Where did you all meet? Were you at school together?
Dan (Moss, guitar and vocal): Olly is my brother and I went to school with Rob. I met Katherine at a gig and we kind of got together from there.
LTW: Was there one musical influence that drew you altogether then?
Rob: I don’t think there really is one shared influence, we all like different stuff really and what we’re listening to and so what comes through from each of us changes over time.
Dan: We probably disagree more than we share an influence. But yes, there’s definite cross-overs.
Katherine (Whitaker, vocals and keys): The Beatles!
Rob (Mitson, drums): Yes, The Beatles is probably the one that we all share. That’s like a test though isn’t it? Do you like the Beatles? Yes. And I suppose The Smiths is the other one that we all shared in the beginning.
Katherine: Yes, The Beatles and The Smiths.
Olly (Moss, guitar): I don’t love The Smiths. I mean, they’re alright.
Dan: What? You don’t like The Smiths? Get out of Evans the Death!
Olly: I don’t hate them. They’re just, ok. We all like Ween!
Rob: Yeah, Ween. RIP Ween.
Dan: They’re not dead! But yes, RIP Ween.
LTW: Have you thought about collaborations? If there was one band / artist you could collaborate with who would it be?
Dan: We already did one collaboration…well, a sort of collaboration.
Rob: Yeah, Stewert Lee, you know, the comedian? He came in and cried on one of our songs. Well, sobbed really.
Dan: Someone we knew, knew him and so he came and sobbed hysterically on our song.
Katherine: It was kind of weird really. He just came down the studio one day with his like three-month old baby in a stroller, sat down, and sobbed for us.
Rob: Yeah, he had a can of lager, opened it into the mic and then cried hysterically.
Katherine: He made us all leave first so we didn’t disturb the baby! He put headphones on it while it was in the stroller and then just did his crying! It was great. But weird. But I really want to collaborate with Rihanna. That’s my aim to collaborate with Rihanna.
Dan: I’d like to collaborate with Aphex Twin. See what really horrible noise we could come out with.
Olly: We want Alan Carr to produce our next record.
Katherine: Yeah! We have this idea that to get someone who isn’t a producer in to produce our record. Just to see what happens. Someone like Alan Carr or Zane Lowe. Just get them to turn up and press buttons, see what happens.
Rob: It could be great.
Katherine: They could have beginners luck.
Dan: We’re going to get a proper producer really. Don’t worry.
LTW: You’ve just performed on the outdoor stage here at Indietracks and you’re doing an acoustic performance later, how does it match up? Any favourite performances or venues?
Rob: I think that was actually one of our top performances.
Dan: Yes, that was one of the best.
Katherine: We all really enjoyed that one, Indietracks was definitely one of our top performances. We like the Brixton Windmill as well. Although we’ve not played there for a while.
Olly: Last time I played there I got told to give up and go halfway through.
Katherine: Weren’t you doing a DJ set to an empty room?
Olly: Yeah. I was playing a 20 minute long Ween song to like, no audience and the landlord just came in and told me to give up and leave!
Rob: I like the Lexington as well.
Dan and Katherine: Yes, the Lexington is nice.
Rob: When it’s full. It’s one of those places that you can really feel it if it’s not full.
Dan: We’ll only be doing the acoustic set later if we can find an acoustic guitar to borrow though!
LTW: Who are Evans the Death listening to at the moment? What would you recommend we check out?
Rob: The new Shrags album. I’ve been listening to that a lot.
Katherine: I’ve been listening to Veronica Falls a lot. I really like that.
Rob: And The Proper Ornaments. And Let’s Wrestle.
Katherine: Oh yeah, Let’s Wrestle definitely.
Dan: It was at their gig that we met.
Katherine: There was a picture of us in the NME all on the stage with them. It’s actually the only time we’ve been in the NME! And the guy who ended up producing our album was pictured in that NME as well! It was like it was fate.
And with that a brief discussion about biscuits ensues, but it turns out Evans the Death are a band who prefer crisps, on the whole.
Chat over they spill back out into the sunshine of the festival to make brief reappearances peering in the windows of the Church Stage as bassist Lan McCardle sings with Joanna Gruesome and then later still Katherine and Dan play an acoustic set to a stiffling, packed Merch Tent.
Paring back the songs to just one acoustic guitar and Katherine’s voice let’s the full force of the lyrics hit you. Heart-wrenching in the images they conjure, finding the maudlin and magic in the every day.
Main stage performance image by Indietracks.