(Solemn Wave Records, out Fri 22 February 2019)
Over the years, some of the albums that have come to mean the most to me are those that failed to move me on first hearing. Sometimes it there is something deeper that only shows itself after a number of plays. I have to admit that my first listen to Evi Vine’s new album Black Light White Dark was somewhat of an anti-climax. It’s taken a little time, but I can now say, it was worth the wait.
I loved her 2011 debut …And So The Morning Comes, it was a fresh and inviting mix of dark sultry moods and lighter folk-inspired moments, quite beautiful. If Give Your Heart To The Hawks (2015) explored more of Evi’s dark side, the Black Light White Dark dives in head first. I held my breath and have just come up for air, and now I can breath again… it’s good, very, very good!
Fancy a dip? I Am The Waves is a dark and brooding opening track:
In deep and quiet waters, I’ll play /Let all the fears that carry me, slip away / I’ve been here before /I’ve been empty for so long
One moment in a life you feel alive /A moment unafraid /It could be in the secrets of the night /Beyond the Great Divide
I am the ocean /I am the waves
The low pound of the bass guitar and drums provide a lush canvas for Evi’s delicate, vulnerable vocals and some tasty guitar work, interlaced with eerie effects making this more of a totally immersed experience.
Evi’s vocal delivery is ever delicate and finds itself a little lost as the tempo increases for Afterlife which is again driven along by a pounding bass line.
The low pound of the bass guitar and drums provide a lush canvas for Evi’s delicate, vulnerable vocals and some tasty guitar work, interlaced with eerie effects making this more of a totally immersed experience. Evi’s vocal delivery is ever delicate and finds itself a little lost as the tempo increases for Afterlife which is again driven along by a pounding bass line.
In the band, Evi Vine is joined by Steven Hill (guitars, keyboards, production), Matt Tye (bass) and David ‘GB’ Smith on drums. Their music explores the dark elemental nature of the human heart, as well as environmental and post-apocalyptic themes. They create a unique and uncompromising atmosphere, a rare experience that is beautiful, sparse and deeply intimate.
Sabbath has already been released, as a taster for the album, with much made of the collaboration with The Cure’s Simon Gallup on bass and guitar work by Peter Yates of Fields of the Nephilim.
Evi Vine with Simon Gallup (photo Steven Hill)
This is another dark and haunting masterpiece as Evi looks deep into the human psyche. “People are being shaped by experiences in our lives, ghosts of childhood, self-destructive pain and sorrow,” she explains, “all our personal struggles, doubt, and change. I can feel the earth dying and it makes me so sad. We write reflective songs about the circular patterns of man, and reflecting beauty and violence in the world.”
Gallup’s powerful bass takes the track to another level while Yates’ guitar and more ghostly orchestration fill the space behind Evi’s vocals.
My Only Son is a raw and moving track, a haunting piano, a few sombre strings and aching sound effects accentuate the pain of loss. “I lost a young friend of mine a couple of years ago, he was a beautiful perfect and imperfect soul. It hurts me now to think of him and the tears come, as they always do.
“It seems only when I am most troubled in my heart that I write the words surge forward and I am compelled to write in that moment. You manage grief, the terrible truth that your friend just wasn’t able to make it in this world.”
This is not a long album, just six tracks in total coming just shy of 38 minutes and Evi’s darkest to date. Beautifully produced by Dave Izumi with Evi and Steven Hill, Black Light White Dark will wring out your emotions and leave you dry. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…