Brooding and Introspective Aural Landscapes.
Very few of you will know Gavin Clark’s name; but you should be aware of UNKLE and Clayhill; while fans of the Film Director Shane Meadows will certainly be aware of his work; as his music is the back one of the Meadows films; most notably This is England.
Evangelist; a sort of concept album loosely based on Clark’s own life, was in production when he was cruelly taken from us in early 2015. Once the mourning period was over collaborators Pablo Clements and James Griffiths went back into the studio to ensure the album would see the light of day as a memorial to the singer and songwriter.
Evangelist opens with the brooding and Gothically romantic The World That I Created. Somehow the synths and cello combine to create a cold, wet and windy backdrop just perfect for Clark’s idiosyncratic voice to set the scene for an epic story.
This is followed by Spirit; which has Clark sounding quite hypnotic as his voice filters through a de-coder bringing up memories of Colin Blunstone and the Zombies; for some bizarre reason.
In the best tradition of ‘concept albums’ each song is a story that helps move things along to some sort of climax. Without taking anything too literally; Clark’s ‘story’ revolves around God Song, which has a 21st Century Doors feel to it; and the exceptional Indie-Folk of The Unbeliever (I’m Never Wrong) which is quite timeless and beautiful.
There are dark love songs littered throughout; with I’m In Love Tonight setting the hair on the back of my neck on end when Warren Ellis begins playing his viola; and the song itself has the haunting qualities that I’ve only heard from Leonard Cohen or occasionally Nick Cave in the past.
Played loud; I Wanna Lift You Up sounds akin to something George Harrison may have written for the White Album; but got refused because it frightened McCartney; although I think it wonderful.
There is a gorgeous flow to Evangelist that never reaches any particular peaks and certainly no lows; with Whirlwind of Rubbish standing out like a beacon as the album glides to it’s natural conclusion. ‘Whirlwind’ is a cinematic acoustic song that showcases Clark’s enigmatic voice and intelligent way with words.
The album closes with Holy Holy; which makes complete sense in this story, but listened to on it’s own will frighten the pants off you!
If Evangelist was a Soundtrack album; it would be for a re-make of Hound of the Baskervilles set in Iceland during a particularly cold and windy weekend; and filmed in monochrome in the style of Ingmar Bergman – if that makes sense.
Released December 11th 2015