There are a few tunes on David Evan's Beta
that sound so uncannily like they're being sung by Colin Meloy it's near-ridiculous. This is not one of them, as it's somewhat distracting to hear such a familiar voice not coming from, well, the person you're familiar with it coming from. And Evan's own, slightly noisier freak-ish folk is plenty fine all on its own (I'm also all that interested in speculating as to who employed the whimsical lyrical imagery—stories of "chicken boys" and "potato elves," not to mention romancing maritime manatees—and proper, vaguely British deliver first; the two Portland folkies are about the same age, and it'd probably be most apt to point a finger at Robyn Hitchcock, anyway.)
The lead track, "2012," is a fine example of what sets Evan apart from his more obvious influences (might as well throw ol' Vanderslice into the oddball pop frontman mix, too). "2012" is a bit more on the the driving rock side of things than much of Beta
's more subtle folk tunes—and "louder" is a direction Evan recently told WW
he was more comfortable with than the singer-songwriter tag to begin with. Relative swing and straight-ahead bass aside, the track still employs all sorts of eclectic creative goodies: horn interludes, noise breakdowns, light staccato guitar and a memorable refrain ("So what/ What the hell ever").
Should be interesting to see where Evan goes from here, as he's just settled into Portland indie rock-dom by recruiting a full band. Hopefully the loud, distortion rattled bursts (you'll see what I mean about 30 seconds before "2012" check out) will continue to permeate Evan's folky dream worlds. And hopefully his own voice will only grow stronger with its new backing; when you have a knack for songwriting as Evan clearly does, there's really no need to share your niche.
Evan premieres his new full band at Brainstains farewell show Saturday, Feb. 23, at Brainstains. 3 pm. $5. All ages. Photo: by Shena Lee.
WW feature on Brainstains' John Brainerd
WW profile of Evan