Underscore Collective (label)
11 December 2015 (released)
06 December 2015
Singer/songwriter Gavin Clark passed away earlier this year arguably with his potential still to be fully realised. He had worked extensively with director Shane Meadows and written critically acclaimed material, both solo and with Sunhouse and folk group Clayhill. But it was his work with UNKLE that took him into new areas and it was that project and his resulting friendship with Pablo Clements and James Griffiths that has led this posthumous release.
The Evangelist project – conceived in 2011 with some demos written and recorded - is a concept album about a preacher’s life, his troubles with drugs, vice skid row etc. This is not a Sunday afternoon summer album for the barbeque. It’s far more interesting than that.
Evangelist has its roots in the electronica and experimentation of UNKLE, though it goes far wider than that. There’s late era Beatles on Know One Will Ever Know, and openers The World That I Created and Spirit segue to create a brooding blend of heavy rhythms and distorted vocals that are as dark as anything on that side of the moon.
But the key here are Clark’s vocals which are at times raw, vulnerable, disturbing and as expressive as ever. Just listen to Same Hands, the aching acoustic Whirlwind of Rubbish and God Song’s dense, hypnotic rhythms, each song has a distinctive performance.
This can be a hard listen at times the music troubling and gruelling. Yet, despite that, and the story’s downbeat ending, the fact that family and friends came together to finish this album means that Gavin Clark has a fitting tribute, and that is uplifting