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The Odds

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 20, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

THE EVENS are a band from Washington, DC. IAN MACKAYE plays baritone guitar and AMY FARINA plays drums. They both sing. The Odds is the band s third full-length album 13 songs recorded with DON ZIENTARA at Inner Ear Studios during the summer of 2012. The Evens began in fall of 2001 and released two albums, The Evens (2005) and Get Evens (2006) and a 7 , Warble Factor b/w Timothy Wright (2011). The Odds is their first album in six years and they have plans to resume performing this fall.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dischord
  • ASIN: B009S2U77C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,457 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Jack Tripper VINE VOICE on November 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD
The husband and wife duo of Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) and Amy Farina (The Warmers) have had a pretty good reason for their long break between their last album and 'The Odds': They've been being parents to their four-year-old son and generally just living the family life. Hopefully that kid's ready to get his own place soon, because these two have got a great thing going here, and I sure wouldn't want to see it put on hiatus again.

While The Evens' sound could still be considered post-hardcore like their previous bands, it's more stripped-down, and the intensity-level is a good two notches lower. Lets call it post post-hardcore. But that doesn't mean it's mellow. MacKaye is still his old angry self here, railing against idiots and injustice over his jagged riffs and Amy's weird, stuttering beats, resulting in a dark, almost ominous sound that shares as much in common with the post-rock of bands like Slint and Rodan as Fugazi. Farina takes vocal turns as well, and her lyrics here tend to be more abstract compared with her partner's upfront and brutal honesty.

The arrangements on 'The Odds' can be very complex, as evidenced by the math-rock-style odd time-signatures and angular riffs of songs like "Wanted Criminals," "Warble Factor," and "Let's Get Well." The excellent, Sonic Youth-esque "Wonder Why" is extremely hypnotic, especially with headphones, but the most instantly accessible song on the album to me is undoubtedly "King of Kings," an infectious anthem that I could picture everyone singing along to at their shows, fists pumping in the air. There's a tangible energy to these songs, even if MacKaye is laying off the distortion pedal some these days.
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I try to stay on top of what's new in music as much as time allows. I'm bummed that it took me this long to discover this gem of an album. I could have been listening to this for 4 years now, instead of just 4 days as I write this.

The Evens are husband/wife team Ian MacKaye on guitar and Amy Farina on drums. Both sing, sometimes together. I was familiar with MacKaye from his work with Minor Threat and Fugazi but confess that I didn't know anything at all about Farina.

Sometimes I fall into a trap where I think that nobody can show me anything new in music, then an album like this one comes along and I learn the same lesson all over again. I'm no musician and have no technical knowledge of music, but if I had to try to put my finger on why this is unlike anything I've heard, it seems like either the Evens use weird time signatures or Farina accents the beat a few split-seconds after I expect her to---and it could be both. Whatever the case, Farina is the most interesting drummer I've discovered since more than 30 years ago when I bought my first Minutemen album and heard George Hurley. On guitar, sometimes MacKaye's playing is sparse, sometimes he unleashes a barrage of jagged riffs. Combine his playing with Farina's unique drumming and I don't miss the bass or the second guitar. Somehow they manage to keep the volume down without losing any intensity or energy. It's lo-fi with a punk attitude. The album rocks and the songs are actually rather catchy.

Favorite songs include "I Do Myself" and "Competing With the Till"---two that I find I'm singing to myself a lot during idle moments---as well as "Wanted Criminals," "Timothy Wright," and the instrumental "Wonder Why." I almost hate to pick favorites, however, because everything here is amazing. It won't take me another 4 years to get into their previous releases.
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the first track alone is worth the price of admission. Whole album is pretty strong, at least as good as the eponymous "The Evens." IMO they lost their groove a bit on "Get Evens" so I guess popping a baby out is an unexpected fillip for the muse... [Hi, Ian!]
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I basically follow Ian with whatever he's up to and this was worth the purchase... I like that the guitar is a little more rock-y than other recent stuff, back to his trademark rhythm. Amy's drumming tends to be a little clunky and on this album she occasionally tries to pull off some stuff that doesn't quite work, but generally the band chemistry is pretty solid. You occasionally hear bits that harken to great Fugazi albums, which is never a negative.

My only real complaint is that the mix is really thin, I tried playing this in my car on a long drive and it was just really hard to hear and appreciate. I have friends who record on relatively cheap equipment (basically a computer and a $300 mic) and they can get way better sound than this. It basically sounds like a really good demo tape for which you would look forward to a proper studio recording. Oh well, still happy to listen to this.
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