Raunchy, horny, raw and unfiltered. No, this isn’t an organic cocktail description from a Williamsburg bar, it’s Evolfo’s debut LP, Last of the Acid Cowboys. This Brooklyn-based 7-piece has been filling up clubs and basement dance parties since their infestation into the music scene in 2011. A mix of intelligent lyrical grittiness, swampy horns out of the deep South and cleverly executed compositions have granted them access into the underground indie culture. If you are lucky enough to catch this tornado of sound live, expect to hear a smorgasbord of musical influences crammed into their short sets as tightly packed as the band members on stage. NYS Music covered an Evolfo gig at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn last summer and the sweaty night reminded me of a Wodka Vodka advertisement: “Escort quality, hooker prices.”
When asked about the methodology behind their newest album, lead singer and song writer, Matt Gibbs said, “I think generally bands have one of two experiences in regards to studio time. Some bands write an album first and then spend a while figuring out how to bring that stuff to their live show. In the case of Evolfo, we had to buckle down and figure out how to capture the live energy onto an album.”
The opening track, “Vision of Sin,” has an all-encompassing psych soul rhythm which seems like it traveled through time to capture sounds from each of the past six decades. About a minute and half into the chaos, there is a funky breakdown where the horn section reminds listeners that you gotta have that funk. The seeds of the first track begin germinating into the second as “Moon Eclipsed the Sun” slowly crawls its way from a slow and melodic beginning to a fiery and powerful chorus. Think Black Keys featuring the Nitty Gritty Brass Band. Mesmerizing lyrics with punchy guitar riffs and backing vocals keep this satellite of a song hovering around the planet and clocks in as the longest track of the album at a whopping 3 minutes and 50 seconds.
“Bloody Bloody Knife” has a 60’s punk feel that makes you feel guilty for listening. The paranoia felt from this track is one example of how these talented writers create horror-movie terror when they feel like it. “Why am I hiding if I have done nothing wrong?” I ask myself as Rafferty Swink finger bangs the keyboard during this zombie apocalypse national anthem. The decision making on track placement is as ambitious as the tracks themselves. The blood thirsty “Bloody Bloody Knife” gives way to “Don’t Give Up Your Mind” which sounds like it belongs on Side B of a classic 70’s soul album. The eclectic variety of music changes so much from song to song that the mish mash arrangement of musicians seems to shift form. Do not be mistaken, this album is in no way a compilation album of different artists, but instead, it is a Megazord where each member is displaying a different source of inspiration and power. “Rat City” is the mod-punk sound that frat maniacs across the country will embrace as they nose dive head first into the shallow end of a pool. Serving up a slice of pie that any pizza rat would enjoy, Evolfo cooks up “Rat City” with a simple and aggressive recipe that paralyzes the taste buds and ear drums on any garage rock connoisseur.
“Last of the Acid Cowboys” reminds me of something a resurrected Jim Morrison would bring into the studio with The Doors. The added brass section in the title track makes for a layered, yet comfortable journey; not your average psychedelic rock piece. The sweet sounding “Peachy” has the loungiest feel of the record. Subtle percussion accompanied by haunting horns in the far distance create a dreamy landscape for listeners to embrace during this final track. After a true genre-blending 10-song adventure, my only complaint is that the incredible album clocks out at 28 minutes, much shorter than your average cowboy’s acid trip.
Key Tracks: Rat City, Don’t Give Up Your Mind, Last of the Acid Cowboys