REVIEW: The Ever After — Take Two (EP)
Minimalism doesn’t have to come barren of all artistic detail, and if there’s an act celebrating this notion with pride in 2021, it’s The Ever After. Based out of the much-discussed Montreal underground, The Ever After throw a pretty stripped-down effort our way in Take Two that has the potential to become controversial among critics of the minimalist movement in indie rock, but from where I sit, it’s perhaps the best example of the aesthetic working for a band with elaborate concepts on their mind. Take Two feels calculated and complex but is ultimately comprised of fewer instrumental elements than any other pop record I’ve reviewed this month.
The Ever After made a point of taking the shortest route to sonic ecstasy as possible in their debut album, but this EP sees them going a different way from a compositional point of view. “It’s All Right” and “The Doll” extend the tension in their harmonies a little more than necessary, but it results in some of the most cathartic lyricism this act has ever produced. I think it pays to make a change when the results are as sterling as these, and other fans of cut and dry indie pop should agree.
Rhythm has a way of making the mood for “Unity,” “It’s All Right” and “This River” the same, and although it’s particularly anxious as we get into the second half of the record, the percussion is a strong source for expressiveness in Take Two. There’s something to be said about a songwriter than can cover the bases as well as Andreas Blachere does in this record, but given that he’s had a great deal of time to reimagine the fragments of success touched upon in Take One, I suppose the fireworks he’s setting off here shouldn’t be all that surprising.
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The vocals sound intentionally obstructed in “The Doll,” but our singer doesn’t seem detached from the narrative at hand — the exact opposite, quite honestly. Much like the OG alternative rockers that came before The Ever After, dissonance is given a hefty weight to bear in this material, but it counters the smooth melodicism of the singing brilliantly on every occasion. Call it old fashioned if you like, but from what I can tell it’s doing this band plenty of favors in Take Two (all of which I’d like to see them exploit again in a future offering).
If you’ve been on the hunt for retro alternative rock done right, The Ever After have all of your needs covered and then some in Take Two this July. At just under fifteen minutes in total length, this is every bit the teaser its running time would have us believe it to be, but doesn’t leave us feeling unsatisfied by the muscle it promotes on behalf of the band. There’s a captivating live performance waiting for us on the other side of this record, and I hope to have a shot at seeing it for myself before the year has concluded.