Evolve – Happy Hour In The Gene Pool (CD)

Evolve plays a very atmospheric brand of music that takes quite a few minutes to fully appreciate. “August Moon” is the first track on the disc, and before the beat goes into something approximating “From Your Mouth”-era God Lives Underwater, little can be felt about the band.

Slow, Evolve finally comes into a storytelling type of music when the instrumentation settles down. No vocals are needed during the opening of “August Moon”, as the pathways and mazes that Evolve sends their listeners through are more than enough to get individuals listening in and interested. The same chill approach is taken by Evolve during the second track of the disc, “Well I Gotta Story”. The tweaking of the radio dials that opens up the track is worked into the later reaches of the song, which allows a greater amount of continuity to be present in Evolve’s music than in other acts. The vocal inflections during “Couldn’t Be More Wrong” start off in a non-lyric way, instead pushing forth the instrumentation. Soon after, the vocals start up, but they are not jarring in the least. The fact that Evolve can gently slide in the vocals into the warm bed of instrumentation previously unruffled by lyrics shows that the band is not a one trick pony.

A second set of vocals takes the focal point of “By Definition: Cool”. The use of this set of vocals on that track throws everything into disarray. Everything else previously on this disc had been chill and calm, and the more rap-centric vocals during “By Definition: Cool” gives the disc a newfound energy. It is the right decision to make, and gives individuals the energy necessary to boldly forge on with the second half of the disc. The horns come back to cool off the track post-vocal stanza, giving the song a delightful back and forth that will stick in listeners’ minds well after the disc ends. While it is unlikely that any of the tracks on “Happy Hour in the Gene Pool” will make it big on mTV or pop radio, the songs are all amazingly-well done and will net Evolve more than their fair share of listeners. For those looking to listen to a chill CD, perhaps in the context of a house party, “Happy Hour in the Gene Pool” is that disc that has the rare combination of being compelling throughout and not falling into a rut at any point during the album, a trend that few similar acts can achieve.

Top Tracks: The Way Back, Mellow

Rating: 7.3/10

Evolve – Happy Hour In The Gene Pool / 2006 Evolve Music / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/chill2evolve / / Reviewed 17 April 2007

[JMcQ]

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