Set adrift on the dreamy, floating bliss of the laid back, trippy atmospheres, old school keyboards, impossibly inviting grooves, alternately fuzzy and jangling guitars and delightfully intimate/soulful and sometimes distorted vocals of Evan Mayall, you might wonder where this incredibly inventive LA based singer-songwriter’s been all your retro music loving life.
Under his given name of Evan Myall Reiss, he’s spent the last decade or so playing guitar, penning tunes and touring the world with San Francisco based psychedelic rock band Sleepy Son – and, since 2015, also serving in those capacities in the offshoot band Fine Points. Listening to his slowly seductive, richly caressing vocal tracks and single stark solo piano interlude, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s more enjoyable – the wondrously post 1967 Beatlesque atmosphere (think “Strawberry Fields”/”I Am The Walrus” but with cool contemporary edges) or the singer’s thoughtful, insightful but often challenging and inscrutable poetry.
Each song is like an intimate exploration of what the mind can conjure when left to soar above our bodies and wonder what’s out there in the other dimensions. Myall kind of sums up his musical and spiritual mission in a couplet from the hypnotic, steadily percussive opener “Supernatural”: “Supernatural and intricate harmony/We’ll make it happen everyday. . .I’m not afraid to die, to be with you is alive.”
Later, after other lushly produced, atmosphere-laden and rhythmically seductive poetic masterworks like “Winsome Way” and “Forever Mine,” Myall gets to the heart of the matter on “Zephyr,” a tune whose modulated guitar, odd beats and ethereal vocals perfectly capture aesthetic that makes the whole project a transcendent trip. As you listen (loud, in headphones, preferably, like you might best experience Dark Side of the Moon), you will feel yourself sharing his philosophical musings: “Who am I? Drifting away…Floating on cotton balls satin and lace/It’s all mine/Cant’ take it away/The moon and the stars are the backdrop today and always…Only the zephyr can find us today and always.” Just perfect.
When that Zephyr finds you, you may have a glimpse of understanding as to what Myall and his producers David Glasebrook (Patti Smith, Oliver Ray, Sugar Candy Mountain) and Nicholas Frances Stein (Fine Points, James Williamson) had in mind when they, as the singer says, “threw all of our colors at the wall, aspiring to make something wondrous. But within the words and melodies, a darkness revealed itself. So we had to learn how to grow and glow in the dark.”
Along those lines, it’s safe to say this impressive debut album is a luminous spark and portal to a more inspiring time in rock history.