If Finbarr Saunders wrote reviews he’d say that Fortuna Pop! produce perfect number 2s. Hot on the heels of Tigercats’ terrific Mysteries is the second offering from Evans The Death, Expect Delays. You’d expect Katherine Whittaker’s iridescent voice, of course, and it’s stronger and more expressive than ever here. When’s a song so-so, her vocals lift it; when a song’s good, the voice takes it to another level. But you didn’t expect the band to take so many risks (maybe it’s the effect of fresh members transfused since the debut album). Whatever the reason, much of Expect Delays is just bloody excellent.
From the sweet noisepop of the brilliant ‘Terrified’ to the dense but melodic fuzz of ‘Enabler’, this is more ambitious than their debut and more than simple indiepop. There are echoes of Pixies, the Charlatans and My Bloody Valentine – even Thin Lizzy, on the rock-tastic ‘Bad Year’ - while ‘Idiot Button’ has aspirations to epic with a magnificent staccato rhythm and wailing guitars. There are also changes in tempo; the indie-folk of ‘Shanty’ shows the band in a new acoustic, gentler light, while ‘Just 60,000 More Days Til I Die’ is brilliantly arranged, pulsing with energy and slide guitar.
That song typifies the melancholy feelings that inspired many of the songs and seep out in the lyrics. Guitarist Dan Moss claims that the record’s all about “being in London and feeling hopeless and a bit lost” but that’s more than compensated for by the music. The band are just a ball of energy; the title track is Lush-ious 90s guitar pop with an addictive wordless chorus while the guitar sizzle of moshable ‘Intrinsic Grey’ proves Evans The Death are Sonic Youth played by sonic youths. Poppy and heavy, discordant then melodic, quiet after noise, Evans The Death fearlessly combine contrasting styles to make a magical record.