Mark Turner of New Zealand group the Eversons said, "New Zealanders are
embarrassed about New Zealand. It’s not the same feeling of nationalism
that I’ve gathered from most Americans. It’s a weird, humble sense of
nationalism," but this record seems just as nationally definable, and
purposely so, as the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" is recognizable to the UK.
Turner went into this purposely accentuating his accent. It's surprising
however that someone such as Turner who championed the electronic genre
with Little Pictures, can go and do the same thing once again, but in an
entirely different direction.
The Eversons are a group out of Wellington, and they craft some seriously
perfect guitar music. The simplicity of the album art from their debut E.P.
perfectly echos the music inside, raw and simple but not without a well
thought out elegance. There is no slick and schmucky facade or ego to their
music, with their feet firmly planted on their sound and influences.
Of course. however, I'm building this up to to look like the band is Brian
Wilson and the Wrecking Crew when in reality the band is closer to how Mike
Love like to think the Beach Boys were: a "democracy." Really this is the
closest I've ever seen a band come to one completely balanced; Turner on
bass, Tim Shann on drums, and Blair Everson (the only actual Everson in the
group) and Christopher Young on guitars (both of the also awesome No
Aloha). The melodies and hooks are astonishingly clever on each of the
E.P.'s five songs, "I'm a Conservative," "Hyacinth Girl," "Boyfriend,"
"Loser," and "Creepy," but they hold up just as well to the title of a
guitar band, because the guitar work is just as ingeniously adroit, if not
more so, to the often wry humour of their music.
Clever might be the key word to their sound, because they often sound like
a bunch of college students too smart for their own good, and frankly, it's
addicting. There just isn't enough music like this that is just as
blatantly honest and self-effacing as it is skilled. But while they are a
"guitar group," and earn quite rightly such a title, the vocals on these
tracks are just as essential to their music, and the backing vocals are so
prevalent they are less backing vocals and more of supporting characters
like a Vonnegut novel, helping the often embarrassing (to the character)
story along, especially on "Boyfriend," and "Creepy."
"Creepy" is one of the modern attempts at doing a new Brill Building call
and response song like the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," or how Vivian
Girls have recently done the like with "Take it as it Comes," but what
makes "Creepy" stand out is the amount of dry and unforgiving humor that
separates itself from the class of the Brill Building, because it's aware
that it is in a modern classless society. So, in a way it does have a
special eloquence and class to it, because it is so self-aware. And even
without the over-analysis, it's just one fine song.
But what may be the greatest song of all is the first track, "I'm a
Conservative," and it's so brilliantly effective in its approach it matches
the aforementioned Kinks in ironic conservative's point of view social
context, but their approach is actually more similar to an impartial Abbas
Kiarostami film. Through it's almost carefuly set up lyrics, they manage to
playfully attack the flaws of both what they consider way too far left
"loopy liberals" and the inverse, unrelentingly annoying conservatives even
though the Eversons have said that they're fairly liberal themselves. It's
just brilliant. The Eversons' short debut collection of five short songs
may very well be one of the strongest perfectly crafted E.P.s since the
Nerves' only offering back in '76, and one of the year's greatest releases