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| 5 November 2018 | Reply

October 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Bob Evans is the nom de plume of Freo boy Kevin Mitchell, perhaps better known as lead singer of indie darlings Jebediah, and with his alter-ego he’s endeared himself to arguably more fans around the world. The reasons are all here on this gloriously sunny compilation, Full Circle, which summarises the fifteen-year Evans journey.

From Dylanesque folk pop to Beatlesy singer-songwriter radio rock, Nashville country licks to Dave Warner-like suburban anthems, Mitchell/Evans continually wins the day with summery melodies and bright, thoughtful, wistful, intelligent lyrics.

It’s startling to realise that Don’t You Think It’s Time?, from Evans debut solo album Suburban Kid, was released in 2003. The world was pre-Trump, pre-Brexit, pre-farcical Australian politics… not enough people listened to his plaintiff plea for a better world full of better people then, and his song has infinitely more resonance and meaning now.

Don’t Wanna Grow Up Anymore is an instantly relatable sentiment for all of us who’ve been forced to face the disappointing realities of being an adult, while Happy Tears is another perfect folk-pop song with an irresistible melody.

Pasha Bulker showcases the influence recording in Nashville has had on the songwriter. A breezy West Coast country-flavoured slice of life, it’s “where did I go wrong” refrain never allowed to dip into melancholy thanks to another melody to die for.

Don’t Walk Alone shows there’s as much Beatles influence in his songwriting as there is Dylan, and even Sadness And Whiskey manages to remain a relentlessly positive and adorable salve against the ridiculous and frustrating world in which we live.

You can’t really pick favourites here – every track is just so good, so well written, so appealing. Closing out the album is a solitary new track, Drowning, which returns to a reccurent theme: feeling lost in a busy world, and the simplicity inherent in Evans’ songwriting again helps make sense of it all for all of us who are confused about our place. Just as a bright day doesn’t eradicate our problems, so too do our problems not make the day less bright. I feel Evans/Mitchell understands this, that he realises we can tackle our issues with a smile, that we can remain hopeful even while we’re struggling. Hopefully the process is as helpful for him as for the listener.

A bonus disc of covers is the absolute cherry on the top of the cake. Pete Shelley’s Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have), a duet with Kirsty Lee Alves on John Prine’s In Spite Of Ourselves, Lily Allen’s Not Fair and Santigold’s Disparate Youth (both performed for Triple J radio’s Like A Version, nine years apart), and a live duet with his Basement Birds buddy Josh Pyke on The Beatles’ Two Of Us. To his eternal credit, he also tackles a handful of tracks from hometown compadres The Triffids (Wide Open Road), Sleepy Jackson (Come To This), Little Birdy (Beautiful To Me), Red Jezebel (See Through Dress) and Eskimo Joe (Liar). What a guy, what a talent, what a great collection.

Category: CD Reviews

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