by Tyler Mangrum
- The Capitol Hill Times -
In the wake of Macklemore’s big Grammy win this week, Seattle hip-hop is in the national spotlight. The Young Evils, however, is a band that proves that the city’s rock scene still has something up its sleeve. Along with guitarist and singer Troy Nelson’s work as a DJ for KEXP, giving the band a degree of notoriety, The Young Evils has otherwise carved out a unique niche for itself in the rock community by delivering something unlike anything else offered today.
Previously interviewed by The Capitol Hill Times during the 2013 Capitol Hill Block Party, The Young Evils said that their work went through an evolution in aesthetic over the last few years that put less emphasis on the “young” sounds of the cheery, melodic first album in 2010, “Enchanted Chapel.” At that time, the band was essentially a two-piece, with Nelson writing the songs to be sung along with Mackenzie Mercer, who also happens to be Nelson’s fiancé.
Although the boy/girl duets on “Enchanted Chapel” were more than catchy and reached critical acclaim both at home and across the country, the doo-wop pop sounds that they employed had a shelf life – only so much could be done with that brand of rock before getting repetitive. But since the addition of Eric Wennberg on drums, Brendon Helgason on guitar, and Michael Lee on bass, the band went on to release an EP that delivered a darker and more satisfying sound.
“Over time, you get bored of doing the same thing,” said Mercer. And, as everybody brings their own experience and interests into the process, all of it has fused to change the aesthetic a lot.”
Their latest EP, “Foreign Spells,” was released two years after “Enchanted Chapel,” and the change in their style dramatic. From the onset of the opener “Darker Blue Bayou,” it became clear that the bouncy acoustics that define “Enchanted Chapel” were replaced with more clangy, dance punk inspired sound that fit better with Mercer’s velvety, lower-register vocals.
In the end, the change is welcome. The darker, gloomier sound is wholly superior to that of the album’s opener, and, aside from showing the band’s range as artists, it’s the sort of dark approach to pop rock that you can only hope catches on.
Find out what I mean this Saturday when The Young Evils perform at Barboza.
Barboza is located at 925 East Pike Street. The show begins as 7 p.m. and will be preformed with bands Exohxo and Ghost Pains.