The Evens

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Get Evens

Dischord

Ian McKaye is a very thoughtful man.  Because of this, I believe the aesthetics of his various projects are more intentional than other artists. I admit, if Mckaye wasn’t involved, I might not re-listen to this disc.  The godfather of indie-cred forces me to give it a second chance.  On repeated listen, a truly engaging effort emerges.  The Evens consist of Mckaye and current cohort Amy Farina.  This team continues the current trend that being a two-piece outfit is truly where it’s at.  We see McKaye in a context different from anything he’s done.  I attribute this to Farina.  As a collaborator, she balances and challenges him, and thus breaks him down into new ground.  McKaye’s left behind any sign of what he’s known for (except his voice) for an album that brims with easy-going confidence in a more light-hearted effort than we’re used to.  Get Evens is also a more classically pop oriented effort than anything McKaye’s done.  The instrumentation is stripped down.  Kind of like early Billy Bragg guitar without the reverb and played with very cleanly recorded drums. The tag-team vocals are harmonious, subtly soulful, and friendlier than Fugazi.  On “You Fell Down,” The Evens concoct a salty/sweet dish mixing a catchy tune with a story of disappointment.  “Pushed Against The Wall,” Farina leads us through a similarly themed song, about a protagonist facing challenges as they expel mistake-ridden effort.  “No Money” discussing losing control of “the bottom line.”  It’s a song lyrically told in strict financial terms, yet it can be easily interpreted in numerous figurative ways.  “All You Find You Keep” looms in a moodier direction describing, “Inspection of all transactions, erections for our protection, what more can we give you, you must be insane.”  It then refrains “you must be insane” soft and sweetly. On the title track, “Get Even,” they charm us with pop-hooks, a quicker tempo, and a slightly more rockin’ feel.  Get Evens is true DIY, with Farina and Mckaye splitting all performing, writing, and recording duties.  It might not appeal to the quintessential McKaye fan, yet anyone who can appreciate anything with the feel of a K Records release will enjoy the charms of this record.

Originally published in Impose Magazine.

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