Evan Myall “Evan Myall” (Royal Okie Records 2020)

There’s no getting away from the influences that hang over this record. Opening track ‘Supernatural’ is ‘Dear Prudence’ with added Oasis strings but is a jaunty chamber pop song nonetheless. And it serves as a perfect introduction to an album that is steeped in a Beatles influence throughout. ‘Winsome Way’ is a charming melancholic ditty full of Harrison guitar and harmonies from the ‘All Things Must Pass’ period. A slight sense of psychedelia and lush keyboard driving the rhythm. ‘Out of Sight’ extends the influences with a vocoder led song that seems to go nowhere. The lyrics are rendered indecipherable by the vocoder until Myall comes in with the sung verse. It’s call and response but you can’t hear the call. Not since Trans has a vocoder been so upfront in the mix.

Prelude’ is a lovely palate cleansing instrumental that is short, elegiac and very welcome and it feeds into the best track on the album ‘Forever Mine’. This is a classic narrative with lush strings and gentle harmonies all wrapped up in some gorgeous production featuring bright guitar and a hook-laden melody. Very nice. It’s downhill all the way after that, unfortunately starting with the sludgy ‘Weep’ a sub grunge drone that morphs into an 80s club not classic. ‘Zephyr’ is back to the Beatles and possibly XTC with its winsome, winding melody overladen with strings. By the time we get to ‘Adena’ this reviewer has tired of the endless echo on the vocals and the strings over everything. Luckily he hung on for ‘Thimble Sky’ with its folky overtones, almost ‘Grantchester Meadows’ like and the playful piano motif that draws the listener in. ‘To the Sky’ is similarly arresting, with a blissed-out feel as the guitar and backing vocals set the scene for a wide-open ballad of optimism splashed with a tasteful flute solo (not a phrase ever used on an Americana site every before I’ll wager!) Gorgeous.

There is a great musician and songwriter here but on this evidence he needs to employ a judicious editor to sort the wheat from the chaff. Interesting but not essential.

LA songwriter's baroque Beatlesy debut
6/10

Author: Keith Hargreaves

Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

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