ESP Magazine / 08/06/2002
The Evoka Project offers a little flash and a lot of depth
by Jenn Jordan - ESP Magazine - Aug 6, 2002
Sometimes you get a bad package from a band and you just want to scream. Bad means a scratchy cassette, a handwritten note with calendar dates, no real bio ("the aggressive skin slamming by drummer Slasher-byrn gives audiences the pounding they rock for," doesn't count. Sure, many bands try admirably, but writers need information, concisely written and neatly proffered. A badly written bio and package is better than nothing at all, at least it's good for a hearty laugh. And then there are the good ones, the great ones even.
The Evoka Project belongs in that category. The band, based in Winston-Salem, looks and sounds like it comes from a much more sophisticated city, somewhere like Seattle or Los Angeles, where no band in their right mind would send a package anywhere that didn't rival the looks of a major label release. And the sum of the Evoka's package parts is more than bright and shiny appearances (although the band's website, www.evokaproject.com is very pretty).
The Evoka Project has label backing, (the Winston-Salem based AudioLab Records), management (a prestigious company in Los Angeles), radio exposure (106.5 The End has the band featured on a compilation); and the band has just played their big time spot on the Vans Warped Tour in Charlotte. Substance with great looks is always a plus, and all outward appearances aside, it is the music that is important, right? Evoka's brand new EP CD December Drive, is simply an impressive collection of a half a dozen atmospheric rock tracks with a sharp edge.
The production, helmed by Ted Comerford, is first-rate, and the mix by Lou Giordano (Goo Goo Dolls, Sunny Day Real Estate) and Mitch Easter (R.E.M.) is as near-perfect as it gets. J.M. Taylor, Charles Martin, Bryan Ledbetter, William Dale, and Brandon Holcomb, who have been playing music as The Evoka Project since 2000, have obviously worked very hard to get their sound tight and their tracks as professionally sounding as possible. Many reviewers liken their sound to Jimmy Eat World or the Foo Fighters, but the melodic interplay between the lead vocals and emo-rock guitar riffs and layered arrangements speaks of much more depth than the those aforementioned bands. Still, the Evoka Project isn't for everyone.
If you want to bang your head or trip on the groove, this isn't the band for you. But if you're interested in some seriously new music with depth, polish, spit and shine, then December Drive just might be the winter of your bliss-content.The band is savvy.
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