Rhythm & Views

The Evens

The Evens are Ian MacKaye on baritone guitar and Amy Farina on drums. They both sing, and the songs are Fugazi: the mellow version. Fugazi that we can play at dinner parties. And it's surprisingly good. The energy and depth is still there, thanks to Farina's drumming and MacKaye's guitar mastery. It is hard to write energetic music that is quiet: Skilled musicians don't have to hit the kit or strings with G-force for it to sound good, and The Evens are a testament to MacKaye's and Farina's talents as musicians and songwriters: all of the flavor, none of the fat. "Around the Corner" starts off with reverb guitar and drums, and Farina's lilting voice. The drums on the chorus switch between snare and cymbal rhythms so expertly that Farina almost doesn't need MacKaye's guitar. "All These Governors" begins like Repeater-era Fugazi, but with Farina's voice harmonizing when MacKaye sings "shut up, shut up," the protest becomes more subtle, but somehow more direct. This effect is even more defined on "You Won't Feel a Thing": "They'll beat you with the truth so you won't feel the lies," sings MacKaye, and Farina echoes the line; MacKaye sings "Sit back, relax," Farina whispers, "Let go," and their voices come together with "You won't feel a thing." The dual vocals are haunting in the contrast between rough and soft--you have to pay close attention to hear. Listen to Farina and MacKaye's whispers: They may be quiet, but they are trying to teach us something.