Erin & Evan – That Time Of Year – EP Review
T’was the night before the review, and all throughout the studio not a creature (besides myself) was stirring…not even an Erin or an Evan, not even a mouse. So…okay…whatever – my ability to rhyme sucks – but I still remember to greet people when trying to help assist them with putting their music out there! I’ve received no Christmas cards from Erin or Evan…no phonecalls…not even a hello…
…were it not for the warmth in their Christmas music, I’d have thought they’d forgotten me entirely this year. Maybe I just caught them on a “Silent Night” of some-sort…or the busyness of the Xmas season that’s kept them so distant…maybe I smell worse than I thought or maybe my Xmas sweater colors don’t match just right…not really sure. But again – thankfully, I feel like Erin & Evan have pretty much invited me right into their home with the gentle-natured sounds, songs & singing on their new EP…so it’s cool…I feel like I got to know them through their music instead of a typical greeting.
But you know something…I’m well aware I sound jaded, hurt and immature in this intro to the review – and if I could do something about it I would…but honestly – these two are making really incredible music; despite my natural aversion to Christmas music – everything about Erin & Evan make my face & heart smile. So all of this poking at them truly does come from a place of love – I really think the world of these songs and their approach to them – and you can hear what kind people they truly must be through the way they sing their songs. Covering Joni Mitchell’s “River” opens That Time Of Year…and immediately you get the sense that these two individuals really have found an extraordinary way to bring themselves together as one. They sound stunning…they sound beautiful…the way they’ve recorded the music is captivating and endearing…and it continues on sweetly from this incredible-opening to “Christmas Lullaby” where Evan takes the lead. Erin was gorgeous on the lead in “River” and sounds absolutely angelic in the background of “Christmas Lullaby”…and Evan a modern-day Burl Ives…he sounds absolutely MAGICAL on this tune. Their cover-tunes are clearly marked and labelled…and this one I believe is 100% their own…and I’m stunned; I thought the writing of this melody and the delivery of it was unbelievably well thought-out. “Christmas Lullaby” sparkles & shines like the brightest-star on your tree…I really feel like they’ve made an instant holiday-classic with this song and will definitely be one of the rare Christmas tunes out there that I’ll personally be reaching to replay…even out of season!
“Gift Of The Magi” is the other listed-cover; a song written by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. I can’t imagine they sounded quite anything like this does! I’ve always associated that band with wild, zany, exotic rhythms…and to hear this tune stripped-down in this version, well…it actually makes for a pleasant, quaint and comforting listen…which again, wouldn’t have been what I thought you’d hear in the SNZ…but maybe I never listened to them enough. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the further proof that these two hear, write & play music on a fairly different and fantastic-level than the rest of us do. They sound sweet, honest and down-home on “Gift Of The Magi” – Erin sounds as angelic as ever and these two really do find a bliss pairing in their harmonies every time; wonderful to hear and to listen to.
“That Time Of Year” starts out really reminding me of your reader-voted ‘best new sound of 2014’ right here at sleepingbagstudios and our own favourite-folkies West My Friend. Erin Krummenacher sounds like Eden Oliver with her high, beautiful tones and fierce approach to melody; you can hear the passion, the clarity and the professionalism in the approach…very similar singers. And just like in West My Friend, well, of course Erin is backed-up by the male-vocals, in this case it’s Evan – but the effect of contrasting tones and resulting stunning-combinations are again very similar…even in this Christmas-context. “That Time Of Year” shows them in the best of their Xmas-displays here…and the ending is quite inventive with the layering of traditional tunes overtop at the final moments of the song. The rest is theirs…and they once again sound sparkling & sweet.
They clearly love what they do – but they also clearly do it all with incredible understanding and skill. There’s an audible compassion for us all that you can hear in their music…especially the album’s ending “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – again…this goes beyond just the borders of the holiday season…songs like this are captivating all-year long. Evan has his best moments in this final song with a complex-timing on the vocal-flow that is nailed with precision and beautiful emotion in front of the twinkling music in behind.
So in summation…
Though I might not have made their Christmas card list this year…I’m gonna go on record as saying I love them anyway. These two honestly took me by surprise…and isn’t that the part we enjoy most about Christmas anyway? Maybe I wasn’t supposed to know anything in advance…in order to really unwrap Erin & Evan’s new EP to the surprise and joy-filled experience it was truly intended to be. Absolutely music you’d find around my Christmas-tree on Christmas-morning…and I bet you’ll find you’ll feel the same around That Time Of Year.
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