Stephen EvEns

Stephen EvensStephen EvEns

Employee Of The Month

Onomatopoeia Records

CD/Vinyl/DL

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

The writing team at Louder Than War have been having a bit of a debate about ‘indie landfill’ recently. You all know those types of bands, yet I’m not going to name them in case you all attack us with your love and admiration for all things Pigeon Detectives. Oh fuck! I slyly slipped that one in. Stephen EvEns is a breath of fresh air as I, Wayne AF Carey discover…

Stephen Gilchrist aka Stephen EvEns has got me. This is a low fi post punk indie album filled with surprises and quirkiness that made me sit up and listen… Hailing from darrnn South he has a talent that shines through and this collection of songs are hard to categorize.

Opener Dustbin Man is a nod to key workers and the shit pay they survive on. It’s wonk as fuck and has some proper mental guitars crashing in at the right moments. “Hooray for the Henrys and their champagne receptions. Don’t go paying your taxes. That would be rude” A big nod to Graham Coxon’s early solo stuff here and local Manc DIY’ers Tinfoils. Push Yr Thumb In Yr Eye is a sonic exercise that hits you in the face with a rush, mental bass and the refrain of “Dirty Little Filth Pig” Fuckin’ great stuff.

Claude kicks straight in again with some filthy guitar and a rolling bass line backed with a casio keyboard sound and a hypnotic drum line. This is post punk at it’s best. Stephen is obviously a Wire / Buzzcocks fan. Freak Show changes the whole sound of the album. It’s a piano led ballad reminiscent of Carter USM. Clever lyrics are there too “One bottle of wine at a time, one lucky scratch coupon away from retired” There’s a proper psych feel to this with the squelching effects flowing towards the climax.

John Snow is a dark number with some deep bass and tribal drumming going on. Backed with guest vocals from Caroline Gilchrist who gives this track a Massive Attack / Tricky feel. The keyboards sound amazing and it ups tempo into a mental crescendo and goes all Pavement on your senses. One of the highlights of the album for me. George & Kathleen goes all folk on us. A bit of cello and classical guitar gives it a maudlin feel and Caroline’s vocals are sublime. A proper love story unfolds…

I Hate Shop (I Am Shop) kicks in with a proper dirty guitar riff that harks to the sound of Mick Ronson. The banality of working in a high street store “Stand up and greet the rabid hordes and I hate shop, you see we’re dead behind our eyes and I hate shop” A wonk fest glittered with a dirty glam sound that reminds me of Brix & The Extricated. Excellent. Career Criminal keyboards it’s way in and fucks off after the refrains of “They gave me nine years, I’ll be out in three” A weird filler…

The Crystal Palace is another highlight. A slow burner that builds and builds into a belter of a song. Proper anthemic and full of skill. It stops and starts and sounds majestic in scope. When it proper kicks in it’s fuckin’ delightful. A proper top dirty guitar riff and some class drumming takes it into overdrive and actually goes all Spiritualized for the climax. Last track The Day I Burnt My House Down sounds like Frank Turner playing piano! “Fire and flames, they may burn my face off, but they cannot singe my happiness, Oh no!” There’s even a sax solo for fucks sake! A proper happy ending to an eclectic album that is in a world of it’s own. A proper breath of fresh air that leaves you wanting more…

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Words by Wayne Carey, Head Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

 

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