Local Rotation: Evangeline's We're Alright Down Here
You just never know when or where you're going to stumble upon a great piece of work. You know? Guadalcanal Diary singer Murray Attaway's solo album In Thrall has been one of my top 10 albums for almost a decade, and I found it at the bottom of a dollar bin at Walmart at 3 a.m. Proof positive that in all darkness there is a little light.
Evangeline's We're Alright Down Here is like that. Simply put, it's a local release that could easily stand toe to toe with almost any million-dollar album being forced down our throats today. Stylistically, the album is reminiscent of Tori Amos's covers album Strange Little Girls, her piano and voice replaced with frontman Jonathan Barrick's melancholy guitar and vocals.
It's a much folkier and softer opus than the band's live show would have you believe, but that's not to say that its impact is any less powerful. The simple, sad determination of the title track will, in fact, infect your head, and you just might end up like me, drinking from the bottle in the Kroger parking lot on your way home from the concert.
"We're Alright Down Here"... recognize the MetroRail?
Not to belabor the Tori Amos comparison, but the low key chorus vocals from guest star and Nashville indie artist Madi Diaz on "We're Alright Down Here", make the song almost too much to bear, much like Trent Reznor's backing vocal work on Tori's "Past the Mission" make something extraordinary extra-extraordinary. She returns later in the album for a soul-stirring duet on "Amy," which is also of wicked virtue.
There is not one single track on this CD worth skipping, although there are many worth skipping to. Evangeline divides its time between Houston and Denver, so opportunities to catch the act live can be few and far between. I encourage everyone with open ear canals, though, to go to the band's MySpace and a) buy We're Alright Down Here; and b) keep an eye out for a chance to see them slightly elevated in front of you. In the end, you'll thank me. - Jef With One F