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Evans Blue - Evans Blue

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Genre: Rock / Artist: Evans Blue / Audio CD released 2010-07-27 at Emm/Fof

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      11.02.2012 10:58
      Very helpful
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      An album by a reinvented band that probably will not appeal as much to old fans

      Evans Blue (named after the injected dye used to measure blood volume) are an alternative rock band from Toronto, Canada with a bit of a chequered history. Forming in 2005 as an amalgamation from 3 separate bands they had a reasonable start with their debut album "The Melody and the Energetic Nature of Volume" selling more than 200,000 copies and making it to #1 on the Heatseekers Chart and the band then consisted of Kevin Matisyn (vocals), Parker Lauzon (rhythm guitar), Vlad Tanaskovic (lead guitar), Joe Pitter (bass) and Darryl Brown (Drums). This was a fairly heavy, intense and subtly dark album with some raw and grungy guitars and strong, emotive, growling vocals from Kevin Matisyn. Their second album "The Pursuit Begins When This Portrayal of Life Ends" saw two changes in the drummer with Danny Brown being replaced by Danny D and then Howard Davis yet with the band continuing in the same vein with equal success.

      But then, rather controversially, Matisyn was voted out of the band for "not making good decisions for this band anymore" and the band suffered the loss of potentially the most important member (not that a band cannot survive with a change to the singer but history has shown it often fundamentally changes the dynamics) with the lead vocals changing to Dan Chandler in February 2009. Perhaps to reinvent themselves the band chose to name their 3rd studio album as the eponymous "Evans Blue" yet alas the curse of the new singer has struck again depending on your perspective. Fans of the old Evans Blue will undoubtedly mourn the loss of Matisyn who brought a lot more spice to his vocals than the pleasant, silky smooth tones of Chandler, not to mention the harder, more intense and grungier edge that seems to have gone AWOL from this new offering. However, unbiased newcomers to the band may well thoroughly enjoy this album, as this is an album undeniably full of catchy tunes and excellent guitar riffs.


      ==Evans Blue (2010)==

      There are definitely echoes of the past resonating in this album, with plenty of heavy intros and fleeting moments of high intensity, but these all seem to diminish a little into tame, bordering on mainstream, rock. "Erase My Scars" is a solid remnant from the past with a dark, grungy mood and heavy undertones with some creepy guitar melodies. Chandler is clearly trying to mimic their old style with a bit of metal growling not really heard on any of the other tracks plus a more angry edge which he pulls off quite successfully. Lyrically this song is nice and dark - "Broke! Inside. This life, you can never be reborn within. I came this far, erase my scars". Likewise "Sick of It" starts very promisingly with very grungy guitars and a slightly unsettling air about it with slowly building guitars, but the chorus lets it down a bit by failing to reach any real intensity although it has a catchy anger to it that is still quite appealing. Lyrically it does miss out on the wow factor a tad - "I thought I told you, I don't need the headache. Why are you so pathetic, try, and you just might get it".

      So apart from these two, the rest of the songs on the album feel a bit diluted, although there are still some cracking tunes to be had. The opening track "Buried Alive" is a very decent start to the album with some pretty dark, heavy undertones as well as some pure sounding guitar solos later on alongside a fairly emotional chorus where Chandler gets to showcase the higher, more expressive side to his vocals. Lyrically this song also takes an insightful step into a damaged inner psyche which adds an extra layer of intensity - "I can't escape, this feeling inside burns me up. I can't erase it, have I gone mad on my own?". There are a couple of other fairly emotional songs on the album, particularly "Who We Are" which is a gentle ballad with a very slow tempo and melodic guitars. Chandler again, with his silky smooth vocals, is captivatingly emotional here and the lyrics are intriguingly cryptic - "Have the words been made to take the pain when the truth cannot be safe? Can the truth remain when everything, everything's okay?" and yet there is something missing to really make you connect with this song.

      "Show Me" is a very similar slow tempo ballad with a touching melody and equally catchy chorus as "Who We Are" but there is a bit more variation to this song with lots of transitory passages which make it a bit more affecting. It is sung beautifully by Chandler as a desperate love song - "Now it's a vision, my thoughts are controlled. Used as a weapon and now I know I can take your breath away". These two are the only real slow tempo songs on the album, and the remainder are all pretty medium tempo, which whilst all being most palatable, with the exception of a couple, are all a little uninspiring compared to the old Evans Blue. "Say It" for example, is a fairly rocky song flirting on the rock/pop side with a heavy base and another catchy chorus but with minimal variation musically means it never really ignites so it is pleasant where it should be angry which the vocals and lyrics try to instil into the song - "It's time, admit your faults. It's your turn feeling small. To aggravate, the pain awaits". With a fairly creepy and heavy synthesised intro "The Future in the End" feels like it is building to an eagerly awaited intensely explosive song, but the chorus lets it down a little and again the edge is dulled. It is still a catchy song, but again doesn't set the world on fire and somehow the eerie music seems at odds with the story of the lyrics - "I'm ready to leave and I hear you whisper to me love hurts, sometimes it works".

      "Through Your Eyes" seems to have exactly the same problem - a heavy intro lures you into expecting more intensity that is simply not delivered, and whilst there is an enjoyably unnerving twist to the melody to begin with, and the build-up to chorus is likeable enough it tapers off disappointingly. It does pick up towards the end with some stunning guitar solos and a nicely creepy finish but it is all a bit "too little too late". Again, the music does not seem to correlate with the lyrics - "Just hurry up and throw me the bones you bleed. I'm not the one who forgot. On second thought, I'm leaving this life you scream". A slightly better attempt comes with the fiercer "I Blame You". There is an excitingly angry edge to this song and a certainly more noticeable intensity to this song with some growling vocals and the best part coming from some epic guitar solos which fit in much better with the lyrics - "All of the hurt, with all of your words, you chose to never be heard again".

      "Can't Go On" is even better in the fact that the intensity level is ratcheted up, whilst showing restraint to allow the song to gradually build, and with a darkly emotional chorus and powerful vocals from Chandler this is one of the more standout songs on the album, as well as lyrically remaining darkly compelling - "How long am I willing to go on faking this life's what I want? I can't go on feeling so numb, wasting my time with someone". Another song with genuine intensity is "Bulletproof". After a heavy intro the bridges are gently emotional leading up to an eruptive chorus which has a heart-rending quality to it and this is a song that is impossible not to get pulled into. Vocally, this is one of the strongest by Chandler with real emotion shining through, which really brings some of the most cutting lyrics from the album to life - "Searching for words, embracing their meaning, starving for hurt, erasing your feelings, replacing comfort with a false sense of sacrifice".

      Finally we have "A Step Back" which is my favourite song from the album. It does start off as your stereotypical catchy rock, but with a quietly bubbling anger just under the surface and Chandler using his smooth vocals to full effect it's not long before this song takes a stunning turn with an orchestral explosion to really ignite some all too fleeting passion on this album. The lyrics are also fittingly gloomy - "I know you, you'll fall through. Replace your life with fear, withdrawing your love here".

      This is a tricky album to rate as fans will probably find the changes from the band's old style as a watered down version of themselves and be disappointed, but general fans of rock and light metal will probably really enjoy this album, so given the changes to the dynamics of the band perhaps it is unfair to judge them based upon their past. For me though there just wasn't enough intensity - a lot of the songs opened with excitingly heavy intros and whilst being pleasant enough to listen to just failed to deliver all that was promised which was a real let-down, but the songs that got the balance right show signs of brilliance and are enough to make this album worthwhile. Overall I would give it 7/10, so am erring on the generous side and giving it 4 stars.


      ==Track Listing==
      1. Buried Alive - 9/10
      2. Sick Of It - 8/10
      3. Future in the End - 7/10
      4. Step Back - 9/10
      5. Say It - 7/10
      6. Who We Are - 7/10
      7. Bulletproof - 8/10
      8. I Blame You - 8/10
      9. Through Your Eyes - 7/10
      10. Show Me - 8/10
      11. Can't Go On - 8/10
      12. Erase My Scars - 9/10

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Buried Alive
      2 Sick of It
      3 The Future in the End
      4 A Step Back
      5 Say It
      6 Who We Are
      7 Bulletproof
      8 I Blame You
      9 Through Your Eyes
      10 Show Me
      11 Can't Go On
      12 Erase My Scars