When Seventeen Evergreen‘s debut record, Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth, surfaced in 2007, the experimental rock duo could be clumped in with fellow then rookie new age psych-rockers MGMT, and it would’ve been an apt categorization. While MGMT are now scene veterans, Seventeen Evergreen vanished into thin air. Do they make a triumphant return in their five-years-later sophomore album? Read on.
The single Polarity Song is the first taste listeners were given of the new record when it was released last November. First seeing the light of day as a pretty ingenious music video (about a thrift store with a mind of its own), the song itself is a rather brilliant piece of feel-good dance-funk that both propels and uplifts.
Bucky is a suitable follow-through, launching with a menacing electronic grind before falling into a dancehall groove, with a warm synthetic shimmer that you can imagine would’ve been be a good tonal fit for the Drive soundtrack. President Clavioline demonstrates a less electronic psych-rocker side to the pair, with a long-hair ’60s guitar rock vibe packed with positive energy. Steady On, Scientist! isn’t perfect, and the second half lags a bit as the tracks become less distinctive and blend into one another a bit too much. Perhaps it’s the fault of the album’s knockout first half, but anyone tasked with looking out for the long run should know the value of pacing oneself.
For singers, multi-instrumentalists, and engineers Nephi Evans and Caleb Pate, their second full-length as Seventeen Evergreen can be considered a success. It’s a shame that it doesn’t go the full distance, but with such a strong one, two, three punch to lead off the album and an overall above-average (if repetitive) collection of tracks to follow, it’s hard to complain.
Essential Songs: Polarity Song, Bucky, President Clavioline