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The Evens stay punk but grow up

By: Katelyn HarropAssistant Entertainment Editor

Ian Mackaye and Amy Farina of indie-rock duo The Evens unite again in what sounds like an incongruent pseudo punk project. The Washington D.C. pair began working together in 2001 eventually releasing their first album four years later. The Evens released their third album last year. Both members possess past experience in punk bands, which serves as an obvious influence in the fourth album called “The Odds.” Mackaye is a former member of post-hardcore punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat. Farina also has a similar past as the drummer for The Warmers, which falls into the same genre. The group’s unique style blending punk and rock and has continued a stylistic movement native to their stomping ground appropriately referred to as the “discord” or “D.C.” sound. The 14 tracks featured on “The Odds” have an overwhelmingly strong bass and electric guitar influence reminiscent of classic punk bands such as Jawbox. Although these two instruments offered a strong base for the album they often consumed the other musical elements, particularly the vocals. Although The Evens intends to highlight the two lead vocalists, I found that the voices of Mackaye and Farina took a backseat on each 14-album tracks. Mackaye did his best to make his vocals stand out (and they occasionally did) but Farina’s were weak and unmemorable. Songs that featured both vocalists were an uncomfortable power struggle that resulted in an uneven musical clash. The majority of pieces featured on the album offered excellent instrumental openings and solos which almost redeem the mediocre lyrics that pollute the otherwise decent tracks. Despite powerful punk influences, The Evens has definitely made the jump into the indie-rock kiddy pool dotted with other characters such as Three Mile Pilot and Unwound. The duo has expanded beyond their D.C. fan base and completed multiple national tours. The Evens also have hit international music hubs in Barcelona and Quebec. The album’s 14 songs flow together almost too well, making individual tracks hard to distinguish and remember. With that said, track number six, “Wonder Why,” distinguishes itself from the rest. Despite (or perhaps because of) it’s complete lack of vocals, the piece emphasizes the strengths of the group, featured distinguished guitar riffs, exceptional bass work, and perfectly supportive percussion. Overall, “The Odds” is a decent album perfect for listeners looking for an atmospheric rock album with a strong appreciation for the post-punk movement.

Paul Baribeau at Fat Heart House

Conversing with Andrea Gibson