The Evens (Dischord)
The Evens first popped up a couple years ago with "On the Face of It" on Thurston Moore's MP3 label, Protest Records. The minimalist tune about the nature of power had the familiar haunting melodies of Fugazi, but with an added element of harmonized boy/girl vocals. Rumoured to have received 100,000 downloads on its first day, the strong song serves as the blueprint for most of the duo's debut.
Baritone guitarist-vocalist Ian Mackaye has been a punk-rock icon for over 20 years, fronting the legendary hardcore outfits Minor Threat and Fugazi, the latter currently on an indefinite hiatus. Tired of screaming at a wall, he's decided to take a different approach to music. Along with drummer-singer Amy Farina, he's gone in a sonically mellower direction.
There's no distortion is on the record, and the drums are lightly explored rather than pounded upon. "Mt. Pleasant Isn't" maintains a Fugazi feel, close to the melodic numbers that showed up on that band's 2001 disc The Argument. Mackaye and Farina's vocals play off each other beautifully, with both singing softly on songs like "Shelter Two", which starts with a simple guitar line backing the sing-song chorus of "It's all downhill from here." Unfortunately their words ring true, as Mackaye's limited vocal range and patterns wear thin by the album closer, "You Won't Feel a Thing".