1. dreaming... pt.1
2. It's Too Late
3. This Unavoidable Thing Between Us
4. For One Day
5. dreaming... pt.2
6. Are You Satisfied???
7. Come To Nothing
8. Dreams Call Out To Me
9. Without Your Smile
10. Into The Ocean (Calling You)
11. Know It's True
13. Everyone (Moving On)
If you haven't already got sweept away by the hype around NZ band, Evermore, get on board. Easily listening with artist genius in the league of U2.
"Evermore is unlike any band I have ever worked with. They have a unique vision and talent for writing songs that are musically uplifting yet introspective at the same time." Barrett Jones, producer Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Whiskeytown
It's a long way from the green and pleasant land of New Zealand's North Island to Seattle, the caffeine and grunge capital of the universe, as Evermore will gladly tell you. Yet that's the journey that the New Zealand-nurtured, Sydney-based moodists undertook to conjure up their star making debut LP, Dreams.
For a band that only really kicked in during 2000, and whose most senior member is all of 20, the life of Evermore has been one seriously weird trip. For starters, Evermore seems to be a band that revels in doing things in reverse. Frontman and guitarist, 20-year-old Jon was born in Australia, but then settled in the sleepy New Zealand hamlet of Feilding (12-times winner of NZ¹s Most Beautiful Town award, incidentally). His brothers and bandmates, bassist Peter (18) and 16-year-old drummer Dann, were born, raised and home-schooled there. Brought up by music-loving parents, they were fed a steady diet of The Who, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, U2 and Bob Dylan, which, combined with their rural isolation, left them no option but to form a band. "Because we all grew up so closely," says Peter, "we would all influence each other musically. We weren't really influenced by what was being played on the radio at the time."
Whispers about Evermore started to spread when they scored top marks at the 2000 national high school band comp, The Rock Quest! The proceeds went straight into their home studio, as the Humes started to dream in digital. By late 2002, their debut single, 'Slipping Away', had been blessed with high rotation by the tastemakers at Triple J. The station's then Music Director Arnold Frollows was among the many Evermore converts after catching one of their first-ever shows.
"They were so good that I thought that my drink had been spiked," he declared. "You could say I was knocked out."
The right people continued to take notice when they dropped their 'Oil And Water' EP in April 2003. "Guitar pop at its finest," gushed one star struck writer. Their next step was a co-headlining, Triple J-backed tour with the Panics, which packed houses from coast to coast. Their second EP, September 2003's 'My Own Way', resulted in an Oz tour with Seattle's Brad. That love-in helped connect the band with producer Barrett Jones, who signed on to produce their debut album in New Zealand at the brothers' Red Sky studio. But Dreams began life as a nightmare.
"Expect blue skies, rolling plains and a Zen-like vibe," the band advised producer Jones. Instead he walked straight into the jaws of hell. New Zealand was assaulted by the most brutal weather in recent history: cyclones and blackouts rocked the Shaky Isles, and Feilding was hit by its worst floods in 100 years, totally isolating an already remote town. The sessions were abandoned when locals started to talk about building an ark. Three drenched brothers and their producer, "he was totally freaked out," the Humes all laugh looking back, then relocated to the Laundry Room Studio (a.k.a. Nirvana ground zero), the base for producer Jones. Seattle's grey and drizzly skyline was a cheery sun shower compared to the force of nature they'd just endured.
During the writing and recording of the album, the band had soaked up such records as The Police's Synchronicity, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Muse's Absolution. Accordingly, this is rock and roll song writing that uses the broadest possible palette. Their producer was hugely impressed by the 40-something songs that the Humes brought to the sessions. "Evermore is unlike any band I have ever worked with," Jones proudly states (and that's a big rap coming from a man whose CV includes the names Nirvana, the Foo Fighters and the Ryan Adams-led Whiskeytown ) "They have a unique vision and talent for writing songs that are musically uplifting yet introspective at the same time."
With their Dreams now captured on tape, the brothers Hume motored south to Easton, Maryland, to hook up with John Alagia, a studio master who's spent quality studio time with Dave Matthews, Ben Folds and John Mayer. (He was also at the controls for Jason Mraz's much-underrated Waiting for My Rocket to Come.) Alagia mixed Dreams and also produced the lead single, 'It's Too Late' He was another Evermore convert. "Never before in my life have I worked with such young talent that has the ability to write, perform, and produce," reports Alagia. "They provide a wonderful and fresh new approach to pop music and will be around for years to come."
If music can move mountains (or, in this case, outlast cyclones, floods and blackouts), then Dreams is the proof. It's an album as fully realised, ambitious and musically rich as such career-making sets as Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head or Silverchair's Neon Ballroom (both high-rotation records for the three Humes). Opening with the sound of falling rain and closing with the metronomic pulse of a heartbeat, Dreams is a sublimely crafted album. "It moves through different emotional moods and builds very gradually," Jon figures. "We thought about it in the same way a writer would , it had to have a beginning, a middle and an end."
The songs, top-heavy with dream-like images and allusions, swing between brief vignettes ('Dreaming Pt I and Pt 2'), gentle strums ('Dreams Call Out To Me') and such stately widescreen epics as 'Calling You' and 'Rise Again'. "We actually wanted to make it a double album," Jon reveals, "but we'll have to save that for the next record."
"It's total escapism," he adds, when asked about Dreams. "But the record was very carefully thought out and constructed."
Sure, Evermore are of an age when they should still be at war with raging hormones and jamming 'Teen 'Spirit' in the garage. But don't let anyone try to convince you that their youth lessens the knockout blow of their debut LP. Just tell them they're dreaming.
By Jeff Apter