A horrible hack

The Evens

The Odds

Year Released: 2012
Format: CD
Label: Dischord
Reviewed by Kjetil Holstad on Feb 18, 2013
For those who do not know, The Evens is Ian MacKaye (no introduction necessary) and Amy Farina (the Warmers, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists) who have been playing together for at least a decade now, ever since Fugazi started to slow down. With the history these two have it's hard to listen to the Evens without at the same time thinking about the members musical past; mostly Ian, but Amy's drumming in the Warmers should not be overlooked; A true gem in the Dischord back-catalog.

The Evens have a pretty basic and toned down sound relying on drums, baritone guitar and singing with very little overdubs so it easily boils down to two things, the guitar and the voices/lyrics. Lyrically Ian brings his view on the world in a rather direct form while Amy's seems to leave more up for interpretation. As for the guitar it does not stray far from what could be expected from someone that played guitar in Fugazi for close to 15 years. The sound is a lot cleaner but a lot of the trademark start/stop riffage is most definitely present and when it 'clicks' it works just as well as it did in Fugazi. The same rhythmic approach to guitar playing fits very well with Amy's loose approach to her drumming. The formula however is rather limited and spread across three full-lengths one can only get the feeling it's all been done before (although perhaps not as good). It still makes the overall experience pleasant but not too exciting or refreshing in any way.

Some songs do really stand out though. The opening 'King of Kings' is a classic the Evens song and among their best effort to date. 'Wanted Criminals' definitely ties back to the Fugazi days. They let the music speak for itself with the instrumental 'Wonder Why' which showcase a lot of the Evens style in a single song.

Seeing as there is an additional close personal relationship between Amy and Ian, the Odds comes off as a very intimate record on many level and to me, rather surprisingly, peaks with the word-less 'KOK' although I can't put a finger on why. Might be the front cover and an idea of who might really be the king of kings!

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