On Friday, February 10, Evan Nachimson releases his new EP Questions. We are exclusively premiering the record, however, a full day prior to its general release.
Evan “believes the power of the voice is not in how you sing, rather, what you say”. Born in Baltimore, “enlightened in Nashville, and toughened in New York”, his music is “all-American”.
He’s influenced and inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Bob Marley. The essence of any rebel. His music blends “the honesty of folk, with the energy of rock and roll, and style of R&B”.
At first he’s got a “Stone Heart”, which begins with that proud, workingman flourish of piano that you hear on all the Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band classics. Then bass, syncopated with drum, hits intermittent as the vocals envelop the, almost, entire soundscape. Mournful organ accompanies said sparse instrumentation in assisting the overall musical purpose.
Surely not tired already for the second track in “Sleeping With The TV On”? It has moody guitar, along with kicking drum in tandem with “enough is enough, is enough”. It really drives, railing against all the crap and negativity on the news and whatnot.
“Does it make it alright, does it make it okay/Does it make it any better, looking away?” a pertinent question. This, it appears, perhaps, to allude to soaking in all around you when asleep. Particularly audio. Doing something as innocent as leaving the television on when sleeping could leave you vulnerable to said crap and negativity.
The question of “You And I, Here And Now” is pondered next. It’s a sombre one, intermittent strum alongside furiously, but mute, noodling. “We’re alive without thinking/Living without a care” a line that strives to put life in perspective. Strings add a graveness to proceedings, the lyrics seemingly an endless, burning stream of questions leaving a deep thinker with heavy, red eyes worrying about the fragility of life.
Parts seem like he’s channelling a What’s Going On era Marvin Gaye. Soulful, somewhat feminine, deeply impassioned and caring. It cuts back to just the voice and guitar. Strumming heralds a delicate end.
A question’s then followed by “Questions”. It has piano striving, serious and maybe a tad hurt. “I’ve been wondering and wondering if you exist” maybe a cry out for a God, maybe hoping for some kind of divine intervention. “God, were you drunk when you created Earth” is a question punctuated with deep, ringing piano and bass; those two elements giving each act of pondering a big, pronounced question mark.
By about the midpoint the vocal really soars, especially with the plea, “I want to believe in you, but you make it so hard”. Lone piano descends a spiralling staircase – is this the stairway to heaven? – before ending on a soft, lingering note.
The concluding and brief “?” doesn’t quite reach the thirty second mark, mostly an ambience to ponder and reflect upon all that precedes this point.
The highlights of this project span, more or less, right across the duration. You’ve got opener, “Stone Heart”, midway track, “You And I, Here And Now”, and then unofficial closer, due to the very brief “?”, “Questions”. This is three out of five, or, rather, three out of four, three quarters, when you omit the aforementioned official closer, “?”.
“Stone Heart”, for starts, has that wonderful workingman flourish of piano that you hear on all the Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band classics. No higher accolade than that when commenting upon the slew of sounds in today’s music scene. If Bob Dylan has, indeed, influenced Springsteen, then you’d suppose it’s only logical that Evan’s sound might bleed into that sort of territory.
Skipping a track, and only that, takes you to “You And I, Here And Now”. Parts seem like he’s channelling a What’s Going On era Marvin Gaye, which is maybe a little harder to explain than the influences permeating in this reviewer’s previous selected highlight. If Bob Marley has, indeed, influenced Evan, then, perhaps, it could be reasoned Marley’s mind set wasn’t too far off Marvin’s.
Then following track, and last highlight, “Questions”. Hoping for God’s existence is a question punctuated with deep, ringing piano and bass; those two elements giving each act of pondering a big, pronounced question mark. Vocal then soars, especially in pleading, “I want to believe in you, but you make it so hard”. Descending piano then expertly evokes walking downstairs from those pearly gates.
Evan Nachimson has really put together something of compositional value, here. Whether evoking Bruce Springsteen or Marvin Gaye, he really struggles to put a foot wrong the entire duration. Even the closer, as brief as it is, you could argue is of ambient value, helping you soak in all you’ve heard beforehand already. Evan Nachimson’s Questions EP can be streamed below:
Also visit his Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Twitter, Bandcamp and website page to keep tabs on Evan Nachimson.
Words by Andrew Watson