OK I admit it, when the press release dropped into my inbox my initial reaction was: “Who??” That said I gave it a listen and I am extremely glad I did.
For the uninitiated (me included) Evi Vine hail from London and consist of; Evi Vine (naturally), Steven Hill, Matt Tye and David ‘GB’ Smith. On Black Light White Dark she is joined by The Cure’s Simon Gallup on bass and Peter Yates of Fields of the Nephilim on guitar. Previously there have been two full length albums, 2011’s .. And So The Morning Comes and Give Your Heart to the Hawks released in 2015.
Musically, to quote The Mighty Boosh, BLWD “spans the genres”. Think primarily of Portishead; Evi’s voice is uncannily like Beth Gibbons; if a little more fragile and yet more powerful at the same time, if you get what I mean. Musically it is extremely hard to put a finger on it but surely that is a good thing? Yes, again Portishead spring to mind but the aptly named Sabbath has an opening riff that Tony Iommi would have been proud of and the spacey We Are Made of Stars would sit very nicely thank you on a lot of later Hawkwind albums.
Ranging from very sparse arrangements to suddenly erupting into a wall of sound I would advise listening on headphones as even in the quieter passages there is a lot going on sonically beneath the surface that you would otherwise miss. It is what I can only describe as multi-layered with some of the layers not appearing exactly where you would expect them. Take for example the aforementioned Sabbath where the wailing guitar solo towards the end is way back in the mix with the sedentary bass and drums taking centre stage and swirling effects just below! You know what? It works!
Evi’s voice throughout the album is a delight, from cracked fragility (My Only Son) through the almost Gong like ethereal space whisper (Sabbath), pure (I Am the Waves) to hidden menace (Afterlight and Sad Song No. 9).
In my humble opinion this is one of the best albums to be released so far in 2019. I don’t think I am out of place in recommending it to followers of the esteemed genre that is Progressive Rock as there is a lot in there that demands to be listened to, not merely heard. Let’s face it, isn’t that what Prog is all about?
One more thing, I suggested listening on headphones, well yes, and preferably in the dark at 3am to get the full effect, just keep a light handy because there are parts that scared the bejasus out of me.
Release date 22 February 2019