If you'd never heard the Evangelicals you might make the wrong assumption from their name that they were a reggae band - but after listening to their second album The Evening Descends, that is one musical style that never attempts to surface within the eleven tracks. The four piece are white boys from Oklahoma who produce a sound that could be roughly described as psychedelic pop - with some shouting thrown in for good measure. That shouldn't put you off however, because it is neither pompous or ever too intense.
With the endless amount of instruments used throughout the album the songs often seem to clash and batter against each other with little direction or emphasis. This left me initially a little dazed as there seemed too much or too little for me to be able to get my teeth into. Eventually the structure of the songs fell into place and I found myself enjoying a band's attempt to produce large scale music without the benefit of a large production. Attention is often drawn to a raking solo or a striking xylophone but it is the melodies that tie these songs together. The best example of this is Paperback Suicide, a sweet song which allows the instruments a little room to breath, leaving you with a memorable number. The pitch of the singing on a number of tracks could prevent them gaining mass appeal, but this added intensity is infectious.
The album does begin to lose it’s momentum towards the end, as with so many time changes and the limitations of the vocals it has the negative effect of wearing you down. But the future is certainly bright for the Evangelicals as they have the enthusiasm and inventiveness to lift them up with the many left-field bands that have incorporated a populist approach. If my descriptions are vague then to make reference to the Flaming lips would probably encourage more people to take a chance on this little gem.