February 12, 2004

Test Spin: Evergreen

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In 1995, Evergreen’s self-titled release must have felt out of time and out of place. The album would probably have seemed to be caught somewhere outside the grunge mainstream, somewhere between a throwback to the Stooges’ blood-stained guitar riffs and a modern day nod to Fugazi’s post-hardcore instrumental prowess. In the light of Temporary Residence’s 2003 reissue and amidst the eschewing of alt for a garage rock revival, Evergreen seems to make perfect sense. No longer does the band’s music sound like an anachronistic mix of styles, but instead it possesses a retroactive command of punk-garage mingling. Evergreen was “in” before they could ever actually be “in.”

Back in the day (mid-’90s is getting back there), the Evergreen line-up solidified on the underground rock territory of Louisville, Kentucky, with the enlistment of former Slint and Breeders drummer, Britt Walford. Combining the latter’s catchy riffs with the former’s tendency for experimenting through varied musical texture, Evergreen fed voraciously at will from its influences. Yet for all its gorging on the past, the album presents a forward-looking aesthetic of stabbing yet melodic guitar riffs, supported by rollicking bass and heavy backbeat drums. Punk shouts cut through it all, doubling the energy of an already rough-riding instrumental base. Though unintelligible for the most part, Evergreen’s lyrical rants evoke enough provocative phrases to make you believe they have something meaningful to say. I really can’t tell what all the yelling is about, but I know it makes me want to turn up my stereo and slam-dance in the privacy of my room.

Well, despite their nominal recognition in ’95, at least now Evergreen have a shot at saying, “we thought you guys would come around.”

Archived article by Andrew Gilman