Five years in the making, Jennifer Evans’ first studio album should theoretically be sporadic in its themes and subjects. It’s pretty impressive, then, that ‘Works from the Dip and Foul’ sounds like the melancholic meanderings of a lovelorn soul throughout.
Uncomfortable Word sets the tone straight away as Evans’ beautiful voice dominates above accompanying instrumentation. The uncomfortable word in question is love, a subject that Evans tackles for the extent of the album.
Lyrically there is no fault to be found on this album. Evans weaves aphorisms out of her emotions as she seems to fall further into cynicism as the album progresses.
She sounds similar to a ‘Ys’-era Joanna Newsom as the tempo and tone take sudden deviations and as she sings continuously, barely taking a break to breath.
While the instrumentation takes a back seat to her voice, it also remains integral to the tone that Evans is after. The plucked strings and staccato drums keep perfect rhythm with Evans’ wild voice, eventually sounding like the beats of her heart.
Though the majority of the songs on this album are quite jazzy and reserved, My Own Assassin and After Berlin give some insight into Evans’ sentiments, sounding intimate and open. The guitar lines on these songs are much more resonant and liable to channel emotion rather than movement or thought as on songs like Colours of Bruises or Promises.
The last song on the album, a cover of Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy, is perfectly indicative of Evans’ unique voice. Whereas the original is very reliant on the background music and noise, Evans’ update makes use of trumpets and oboes to create a stormy atmosphere without ever overwhelming her voice, which, again, remains the focal point.
Although five years is a long time to wait, it’s worth it if the outcome is as harrowingly meaningful as ‘Works from The Dip and Foul’. Now with her first studio album under her belt, and with any doubters seemingly put in their place, it looks likely that Jennifer Evans is set for big things in the future.