Before I start writing whatever I have on mind about this record I’ll put the story behind Reason To Care’s Evyn. It’ll surely tell you more about everything that you’ll find on this awesome 12″ than I’ll be able to. Also, it’ll surely justify my opinion on the album. Oh yes, and here’s the Bandcamp player so you start spinning this album right away.
The journey of the fourteen-year-old Evyn begins as he gets strongly pulled into the distance by an unknown force. The boy lost his primary caregiver by the disappearance of his brother three years ago. So it is not hard for him to spontaneously leave the city to follow the winsome force. He grabs his patchwork blanket, which his brother gave him for his ninth birthday just before he turns his back on his home. The blanket will be his only companion on his journey and it’s going to help Evyn to withstand all difficult situations.
Various phenomena guide Evyn to different places. Among many positive experiences the boy is also faced with social and political grievances. He is youthful and naive but always courageous and critical – always searching for answers and solutions. Evyn is growing with every stage of his journey.
In one of the first chapters the boy reaches a coastal town with a cruel and absurd tradition. Hundreds of pilot whales get slaughtered in a festive atmosphere and he can‘t believe his eyes as he sees that even children participate. Evyn is shocked and his feet get tied to the ground while the bay turns blood-red. The merciless procedure of the villagers towards the peaceful and defenseless whales disappoints him deeply. He tries to make eye contact with every single person and raises his voice with the words of his lost brother: „They are one of a kind! Like every you and me“ (Dear Liv Ivy)…
In another chapter Evyn arrives in Homs, a city in a remote desert country where he learns to enjoy the simple things in life. A family accommodates him for a few days and Evyn is overwhelmed by their hospitality. The boy draws comparisons to the life he knew by then and learns to appreciate small things. He‘s fine with having some food, water, a place to sleep and a familiar surrounding. On the fourth night after his arrival the son of the family gets seriously injured through a bomb blast… this is the first time Evyn gets in touch with the injustice and the relentlessness of war.
Evyn wants to stay in Homs to lend the family a helping hand but he is kind of forced to leave the town to find his destination. The journey goes on and on – sometimes hasty, now and then weary, often melancholic and thoughtful but always exciting yet instructive.
At the end of his journey Evyn reaches an old village close to the sea. He enjoys the scenery but he’s still no idea of what could have taken him so far into the distance. All signs are slowly fading. Evyn considers himself to be at his destination not knowing that his brother is nearby…
So, yeah, this is exactly how you make an album. You pour everything in it. Nobody in 21st century needs one more hardcore album about your friends, family and pride values. At least not put the way it could work out 20 years ago, because what can excite people nowadays is attitude, attention, details and a lot of love to every bit of what your music really means and how it’s interpreted through all other artistic mediums. That said if Reason To Care put Evyn out like your regular hardcore album I definitely wouldn’t care so much. What makes this album so huge is its concept, its artwork, its lyrics and the way they work together.
Evyn is story-telling at its finest even if the music on this album we’ve heard many, many times from bands all around the globe. Reason To Care are from Germany (as you can guess from the spoken word passages in some of the tracks). Their music is predominantly atmospheric, melodic and mostly mid-tempo paced and still quite epic. Whenever Reason To Care climax in a faster part they sound nervous, worried and intense and not simply punchy and straight-forward. Evyn is not a story that gives you time to relax and contemplate, what the boy that’s the subject of this album has to endure and encounter is a whole new reality unfolding in an exciting manner. And so is the musical ride – an ever-moving and diverse experience. That said, Evyn will satisfy all those who would prefer to solely perceive the album for its musical qualities. Which for me might be completely wrong but everybody has the right to experience music according to their personal choices. What counts is that Reason To Care wrote something that holds a sufficiently challenging material to follow through.
If I gotta be honest I haven’t read such nice and captivating story in an album since the good old days when Defeater first appeared, and maybe since La Dispute’s ‘Somewhere at the Bottom…’. However, those references are not a comparison in any way as Evyn is a whole other kind of music. Introvert and personal in a way, but close to each and every human being dedicated their time on the Earth not to just merely existing but to a conscious living and an endless exploration of life.
Seriously, just go for that record. One of the best things… errr… okay the best thing Shivery have released until now!