Sound Advice: Sea of Yards by Greg McEvoy

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Sound Advice: Sea of Yards by Greg McEvoy

Greg McEvoy's debut EP evokes Springsteen and Neil Young.

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Sea of Yards is not one of those records you can sidle into. It begins with a twangy, enthusiastic bang.

While there are fallow moments and cooling dips in tempo on this debut EP by Greg McEvoy, most of the seven-song record presses forward urgently. Characterized by neediness and an itchy musical anxiety, Sea of Yards has easy melodies, but it also evinces emotional discomfort.

Produced by Laurence Currie, whose credits include albums by Wintersleep and Hey Rosetta, Sea of Yards is a phenomenally balanced release. The sheer noisiness of “The Words in My Head” gives the impression of cacophony while never becoming disorganized, the squalling guitars and frantic percussion rubbing against each other with exactly the right amount of friction. On other tracks, like “Alone In The Fire,” McEvoy’s yearning vocals take the lead, with his acoustic guitar providing just enough wiry strength to support them. (Click the sample above to listen to “Alone in the Fire.”)

Throughout the EP, thick, rough strands of folk are woven through a smoky, slightly psychedelic style of rock. The aesthetic will be deeply comfortable to fans of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. McEvoy tempers his affection for blue-jeans-and-hemp-rope rock with an extra dose of day-dreaminess. It’s easy to chalk this up to introspection, but there’s an oddly extroverted quality here. This music isn’t about navel gazing; it’s about cloud gazing.

Sea of Yards‘s strangest feature—and ultimately its most endearing one—is its preoccupation with harmony. It’s clear McEvoy’s deeply aware of the specific kind of loneliness involved in solo acoustic performance. On this record, he’s taken the opportunity to experiment with vocal harmonies and layering, tying knots and weaving braids of sound. His delight in using these techniques shines through and makes the record a little more lovely.

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