Expect Delays is the second album from London’s Evans The Death. I’ve never really bought into the ‘tricky second album’ theory, just sounds like an excuse to cover disappointing follow ups to me, but then I’ve never had to make one! Evans The Death certainly haven’t worried about the difficulty of following up their 2012 self-titled debut. This album feels like it has scale. There’s a lot going on across it’s 13 tracks, in particular a lot of hurt and anger. Musically it dips into various styles but mainly joins the dots between indie-pop and noise rock.
In vocalist Katherine Whitaker the band have their trump card. At best her voice dominates songs, delivery switching between delicate, soft and beguiling to angry, hateful and snarling. At worst she manages to provide a strong focal point and consistent quality to songs that would otherwise be unremarkable. Right from the off her singing of “You can’t escape from Intrinsic Grey” delivers a very short lived sense of comfort before the guitar / drum attack kicks in. What appears to be a gentle introduction becomes a breathless rock romp.
What I particularly love about this album is the shift from pop to noise and back again, sometimes from one song to the next, often within one song. We can be in the middle of a glorious pop chorus only for the wail of feedback to take over. It’s an ambitious and brave approach to songwriting and in less skilful hands could have become a bit of a car crash but thankfully that’s not the case here.
‘Terrified’ is a gloomy, bass heavy rock stomp, immediately followed by the upbeat indie-pop of ‘Sledgehammer’ and ‘Bad Year’, songs who’s titles don’t reflect their sound. ‘Enabler’ and ‘Clean Up’ are excellent examples of punk with a heavy dose of melody through the vocals . We’re treated to a successful visit to alt-folk territory on ‘Shanty’.
Evans The Death write about the hassle, pointlessness, humdrum and pain of everyday life. Those supposedly important things that often amount to nothing more than bullshit despite all the stress and anxiety they cause. Gloomy enough, but the band present all this in a way that makes you think they’re doing just fine at dealing with it all themselves, they know what they’re doing and how to make it better. The same can be said for the music. They’ve taken risks, educated gambles perhaps, that have paid off handsomely. Expect Delays is a whirlwind you’ll want to get caught up in.