The Ever After Releases “Take Two” (EP)

Pop music – is there really all that much to it? Take a few basic instruments and put them behind a vocalist who can belt out smart lyrics, and most would figure they had a good formula for making a splash on the FM dial. Contemporary pop is a little more complicated than that, and when analyzing it through the twisted lens of The Ever After, we’re forced to acknowledge just how strange and spellbinding a musical universe we’re living in right now. The Ever After’s new EP Take Two takes elements of folk, pop, rock, and a touch of worldbeat and throws them into an aesthetical blender right off the top in “Unity.”

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From the post-punk-style haze of this opening cut to the almost FYC-esque strut of “The Doll,” there’s rarely an instance in this tracklist where we’re left unstimulated by vocals and instruments the same. “It’s All Right” is the funereal ballad I wasn’t expecting to light up my mid-July much as “This River” is the retro-rock revival I wouldn’t have anticipated finding next to the other songs on this record, and while opposites attract in Take Two, they’re never made to be so avant-garde as to repel the occasional pop fan from its content. 

The chemistry between these players is remarkable and helps to manage the eclectic nature of the music supremely well. I don’t know that the gothic psychedelia of “Unity” would make as much sense were it not as fluidly realized as it is in this record, and while The Ever After primarily centers on its chief songwriter, the project doesn’t feel like a vanity vehicle for a solo artist at all. On the contrary, the lack of predictable arrangements in songs like “It’s All Right” and “This River” makes it easy to pick up on the numerous influences different contributors are bringing to the table here, and not the singular concept of a puppet-master in the background. Take Two lends quarter to no bland harmonies, filler songs, overdone guitar solos, or self-righteous lyricisms all found commonly in the commercial faction of western pop right now; it’s all creativity, often in its rawest and most unfiltered form. 

HEAR NOW: https://theeverafter.hearnow.com/

I hear the foundations of a proper successor to 2009’s Oh Dear! LP in this extended play that I hope to see in further development later this year, but even if it takes The Ever After a little longer to hammer out their next full-length, this latest release indicates that the wait will be more than worth it. As a critic, I’m just not seeing the same ambitiousness to the south of the Canadian border as I am on the north side, and of the country’s best underground scenes right now. The Ever After rep Montreal exceptionally well in Take Two. The city is experiencing an indie rock renaissance that a lot of journalists predicted coming to fruition as early as ten years ago, and with increased exposure for songs like “The Doll” and “This River,” the buzz is bound to grow even stronger. 

Michael Rand

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