Album Review

The Evangenitals - 'Moby Dick'

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Albums whose material is tightly wound about a central theme can be a tricky business to get right, and for which it is even trickier still to find a sizable listening audience. Having recently listened to—no, experienced—the new album by Los Angeles-based band The Evangentials, I must say, in terms of this strictly themed collection of songs, they did indeed get it right…and I very much doubt they will have any difficulty whatsoever sharing it with a broad audience. More than the lyrical content and overall subject matter, this is more to do with the sound, or sounds, which are comprised of manic, diverse, unusual and creative songwriting and delivery at its best. In this way, the songs on the new Evangenitals album go through eclectic shifts—soaring strings and haunting vocal masterpieces, avant-folk and alt-country, gypsy punk and organic jazz, rootsy pickers, electro new wave weirdness and seafaring blues, and more.   

A literary theme full of nautical references, adventure, triumph and failure, life and death, and so on, comes from the pages written by Herman Melville…hence the title of The Evangenitals’ album, Moby Dick. This album doesn’t simply tip its hat to the old tale; it also proves itself seven times over an impressive marriage of fiercely original and free songwriting and absorbing story conveyances. And while it is hard to not be equally fond of every song on the Moby Dick album, the standout songs are decidedly “Ahab’s Leg,” “The Sermon,” the title track, and “Quee Queg.”

 The Evangenitals project was founded by playwright/director Juli Crockett and opera, jazz and gospel singer Lisa Dee, both of whose vocational influences are very evident in the band’s songs. What’s more, the members of The Evangenitals clearly have a strong chemistry and mutual need to bridge genre gaps and crumble musical boundaries. And, as such, they have put together a truly extraordinary effort that will undoubtedly prove timeless and widely appreciated.      

Moby Dick by The Evangenitals is scheduled for a March 18, 2014 release through Fluff and Gravy Records.