Review Summary: Straight-forward pop-rock OR ambitious concept-based new-wave? You decide.
Not a group to jump into things too flippantly, kiwi trio Evermore recorded three EPs over a nine month period (spanning 2002 and 2003), before finally unleashing their first full-length release ‘Dreams’ in September of 2004. It is not a fact that should be taken lightly, since this triumvirate of brothers appears much more confident & ambitious than most 17-21 year olds on debut. Of course, that is not always a positive when it comes to young musicians and ‘Dreams’ does indeed tow a fine line over its 53 minute duration.
Excluding the short introductory instrumental, the first two tracks proper showcase both the sound that Evermore play, as well as their strengths & weaknesses. The soaring melodies of lead single ‘It’s Too Late’ make it far and away the best song on the album. It is smooth free-flowing pop-rock goodness that has a keys-based hook which firmly takes center-stage over Jon Hume’s effectively laconic vocals. Hardly a second is wasted on this cut, but the exact opposite is true for the following ‘This Unavoidable Thing Between Us’, which takes an eternity to get going and has a payoff that is simply not worth the five minute wait.
The remainder of the first half of the album plays out fairly predictably with varying degrees of success. The relatively straight-forward catchiness of both the acoustic-heavy ‘For One Day’ and ‘Come To Nothing’ was always going to mean they were released as subsequent singles. However, towards the end of the latter track is where Evermore’s ambition and confidence significantly come into effect. What is initially a simple radio rock cut builds up nicely to a strings arrangement that surprisingly works well in combination with electric guitar.
In fact, the link between the end of ‘Come To Nothing’ and the following ‘Dreams Call Out To Me’ sets up a formula for the second half of the LP, with five of the final seven cuts including an orchestral arrangement of some kind to fit in with the album’s loose “dreams” concept. In all honesty, it is overkill that predictably reduces the cumulative effectiveness of each successive track, but it does result in some interesting and satisfying listening in isolation. While some cuts do fall into blandness & over-length, others excel. Take for example, the sweeping atmospherics of ‘Into The Ocean (Calling You)’ which even contains a touch of Pink Floyd & Smashing Pumpkins about it!
On the back of ‘Dreams’, Evermore are an indeed an interesting proposition. On face value, they perform run-of-the-mill pop-rock destined for mainstream audiences. Yet, look deeper and it becomes apparent that their ambition means that their influences are more likely to be bands such as Muse, Radiohead, Coldplay and The Police. This is not necessarily a consistent positive as it does result in the trio punching above their weight on a few too many occasions. However, it is an admirable trait for such a young band to have, and one which will hopefully serve them well in the future.
Recommended Tracks: It’s Too Late, Into The Ocean (Calling You) & For One Day.