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The Evens: Get Evens

By Katherine Sue Ambellan

Dec 17, 2006 - 11:20 AM

When most people think of Ian MacKaye, they think of the loud guitar rock of Fugazi or the straight edge founding band Minor Threat. But MacKaye proved in 2005, when he and ex-Warmers drummer Amy Farina released their debut, that he's got a soft and warm side to him.

The duo's sophomore effort, Get Evens, still leans heavily on hushed, perfectly placed dueling male-female vocal harmonies and rippling drums, but has a new level of anxiety to it. No one does a two piece quite like them. The songs have more of a political feel, especially with the book end tracks, "Dinner with the President," and "Cut from the Cloth," which simply asks, "How do people sleep amidst the slaughter/ And why would they vote in favor of their own defeat?"

The album in general has a more urgent feel to it, almost like it is about to rip at the seams of its intimacy and shred. Released a couple of months before the election, it seems as though songs like "Everybody Knows" are aimed at the conservative right, with blatant lyrics like "You fabricated your way in here, and everybody knows."

The Evens are a unique band in that they stick to playing analog music with conviction, not to mention that few play a baritone guitar out of the studio. They even run their vocals through an amp instead of a PA.

Throughout the course of Get Even, it's easy to hear the songs as stripped down, acoustic Fugazi songs. But if you squint your eyes, look up and to the left, it's easy to imagine them with a kick ass bassline rolling in with guitars turned to 10. Even though Fugazi has been put on hold for the bassist's newest child, MacKaye and Farina are doing great raising their newest musical offspring.

***

Katherine Sue Ambellan is a freelance journalist whose life motto is: Admission pays for the whole seat, but you only need the EDGE!

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