Dark synthpop goodness from EVVOL…
In recent years it’s been refreshing to see electronic music expanding its frontiers (in much the way its pioneers intended) rather than being subsumed by a suspect nostalgia for times past.
In particular, the baroque soundscapes envisioned by the likes of Austra and the sleazy synthpop of Trust have demonstrated an ability to craft electronic music from a darker palette. But within these often brooding compositions is an ear for melody that engages the ear as much as it engages the soul.
This duality of sound and style is where the Berlin-based duo of Julie Chance and Jane Arnison exist under the guise of Evvol. Having toured with the likes of Austra previously (the outfit have also performed with Grimes and Peaches in times past) it reinforces the idea that there are themes and concepts that can invoke similarities between the Toronto outfit and Evvol. But although the pair are dabbling in the same paddling pool as our Canadian chums, they have a very distinct sound that is clearly their own.
Originally starting out as Kool Thing, Evvol became something else entirely and resulted in the 2015 release of the album Eternalism. Amongst the tracks jostling for attention on the record was the slightly disconcerting ‘Sola’, with its detuned synths and vocal washes recalling the ethereal soundscapes of Slowdive. Elsewhere, ‘Four Steps From Home’ offered a more beats-driven affair, yet still managed to weave in nocturnal vocals and evocative electronic moods.
The adventure continues on new release Physical L.U.V which manages to tread similar ground, but also develops Evvol’s sound further. So the hypnotic washes of ‘[DEVT]’ feel familiar, while the minimal electronic rhythms of ‘The Beat Within’ puts the duo’s mesmerising vocals front and centre.
But it’s title track ‘Physical L.U.V’ that’s the standout moment on this release. It’s a wonderfully subtle use of electronic tone and melody that lends an accessibility to Evvol’s sound, but without sacrificing any of its unusual qualities.
Meanwhile, ‘Comfort Fit’ offers up a percussive dreamscape of languid electronica over which the mesmerising vocals work a seductive power. ‘Time & Space’ closes proceedings with a beguiling repetitive reverie with a more organic feel.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Evvol cite an eclectic number of influences in their music, including the likes of Neu! and The Knife. But the outfit have managed to distill their interests into a reflective unique musical style.
Evvol play The Garage in London tonight. Tickets: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/aji1405m
This article originally appeared on the Wavegirl site.
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.