Dusted Reviews

Evangelista - In Animal Tongue

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Evangelista

Album: In Animal Tongue

Label: Constellation

Review date: Sep. 29, 2011

There are albums that one listens to for relaxation, those that lend energy, those that are escapist, those that tell stories. And then there are the ones that open a door to another place, another mind. Listening to Evangelista’s In Animal Tongue is like having your guilty conscience whispering in your ear — not necessarily a bad thing, but you might not want to hear it all the time.

The key to Carla Bozulich’s project is space and physicality: there’s something about the way the songs are organized that gives them volume without mass, and presence without weight. Songs like "Tunnel to the Stars" float lightly, but can’t be ignored. A wheezing organ drones as scratchy strings squeak, while Bozulich’s voice creeps around as if heard from another room in a haunted mansion. On some of these songs, simple guitar strumming is recorded in such a way that you can hear every movement, not just the intended notes, and the physical presence lends a sort of sonic verité, the inverse of Top 40 sterility. Elegaic, ominous, and eerie are the keywords, but with crackling energy: "Bells Ring Fire" underpins emotional vocals with unadorned cello, and is nakedly evocative even as it unrolls amidst huge open spaces.

At times, In Animal Tongue carries on a bit too far. Bozulich lets it all hang out in her vocals, and occasionally overreaches only to find herself ever-so-slightly across the line between creepy and camp. But that’s a rarity. More often, she channels emotion in a way reminiscent of Patti Smith. In opener "Artificial Lamb," she fills a dank, dead atmosphere with fiery words. At other times her chanting is like a stripped-down Swans, and on "Hands of Leather," the band creates the sound of a crazed ritual.

Disorienting, uneasy listening, Evangelista here asks for something from the listener in exchange for its stories. You won’t be putting this on while you putter around the house — you need to listen and absorb. It won’t always work. But when it does, you’ll find the door open and a fascinating terrain inside.

By Mason Jones

Other Reviews of Evangelista

Hello, Voyager

Prince of Truth

Read More

View all articles by Mason Jones

Find out more about Constellation

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.