The Evens – The Evens Get Evens

The Evens
The Evens Get Evens

The cover art says a lot about this album. A crumbled image of our nation’s capitol is barely visible in the dirt. That is the way Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina feel about the current state of America. And The Evens Get Evens speaks to the disenfranchised of this country in a way that seems incredibly rare: truly and without repent.

The album itself has a tremendous feel for a DIY record, meaning that the album has a great sense of its space and isn’t afraid to use it. Coming from Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, this is a bit of a surprise. There is lots of open space on this album, from the opening of “Cut from the Cloth”, with its harsh statement of “How do people sleep/amidst the slaughter”, to the utter simplicity of “You Fell Down”, the album allows itself to breathe. A rarity considering the myriad of noises, effects, and other crap that artists’ like to fill their albums with.

This album bleeds politics. “All You Find, You Keep” deals with the age of technology, and the fact that we aren’t too far from making Orwell’s 1984 a reality. “Dinner with the President” gets straight to the point, “If I went I know what I’d like to do/Stand up and scream while the food is served.” And, MacKaye wonders why his invite isn’t forthcoming. The pure venom of “Everybody Knows” (“Everybody knows that you’re a liar!!” is it’s belted refrain) is nearly laughable, but also incredibly sobering.

MacKaye and Farina make a good noise together. Their voices often intertwine throughout the album. Farina proves to be a multifaceted drummer, much more nuanced than expected. And MacKaye keeps his guitar to the background, mixing simple secure riffs, with delicate finger work. His baritone guitar holds the guts to the sound, and does it incredibly well.

This is a troubled age in which we currently dwell. Our country is incredibly divided right now. The government is building fences on our border, the President’s approval ratings hover in the 30’s, and everyone seems to be on edge. The best art holds a mirror up to society. The Evens Get Evens may not reflect society as a whole, but it does tell the listener that there are a lot of pissed off people out there. And somehow, to me, that is all the more comforting.