wears the trousers magazine

evangelista: prince of truth (2009)
September 23, 2009, 8:47 am
Filed under: album, mp3, review | Tags: , , , ,


Prince Of Truth ••½

Carla Bozulich is a veteran of rock and industrial music and has been singing, composing and playing since the age of 15 in various incarnations. Previous lives have included the post-punk outfit Neon Vein, industrial band Ethyl Meatplow, Scarnella (a duo with Nels Cline of Wilco), spook alt-country outfit The Geraldine Fibbers and traditional ‘rock’ band Night Porter. Bozulich’s first solo release in 2003 was a peculiar interpretation of Willie Nelson’s classic album, Red Headed Stranger. Featuring an amazing ensemble of Cline, Brooklyn Jazz scene stalwart Jenny Scheinman, Devin Hoff (of the Nels Cline Singers), Carla Kihlstedt (who has recorded with Tom Waits), Marka Hughes, and Nelson himself, it rightly won overwhelming critical acclaim. Evangelista is yet another Bozulich project; the self-titled debut album was her first for Constellation in 2006, followed by 2008’s Hello, Voyager. Both of these albums became a catalyst for the core line-up, featuring most notably Tara Barnes, who, among other things, plays bass and writes lyrics, and whose musical bond with Bozulich has been an influential force in third album Prince Of Truth.

Evangelista’s sound is particularly difficult to categorise, coming under the umbrella of, and jarring between, improv, industrial, ambient, gothic, noise, experimental, progressive and, well, a bit odd. It also took considerable post-production touches and a bout of pneumonia from Bozulich herself to complete it. Themes are existential and confrontational, so while it’s not always easy to listen to, it’s definitely honest. Vocally, there are tones of Marianne Faithfull, Patti Smith and, on occasion, PJ Harvey, and the overall sound of the album is one of foreboding. Intensely atmospheric, and sometimes tuneless, the mood is always bleak on Prince Of Truth. There are hints throughout of Einstürzende Neubauten and Godspeed You! Black Emperor but without the lucidity of either.

This being a Bozulich creation, a plethora of effects are put into play. ‘Tremble Dragonfly’ consists mostly of an orchestral warm up, while ‘Iris Didn’t Spell’ employs a cello to great, menacing effect. Distortion is, of course, a must, and assists in making ‘Crack Teeth’ extremely spooky, while ‘The Slayer’ is a seven-minute post apocalyptic spoken narrative of doom (in the same attitude as GY!BE’s ‘Dead Flag Blues’, but tunefully a world away). The strongest track, which also had a great deal of input from Barnes, is album closer ‘On The Captain’s Side’, a rambling, ghostly sea shanty featuring childlike voices, incantations of lost love and desertion, and ultimately death. Atmospherically, Prince Of Truth is decidedly effective in evoking true horror, and could certainly soundtrack an intense cinematic experience. In the enjoyability stakes, however, it’s not always so successful.

Stephanie Heney
UK release date: 05/10/09; www.myspace.com/evangelista

FREE MP3: Evangelista, ‘The Slayer’


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