Earlier this month, Sydney jangle pop stalwarts Even As We Speak released their first new material in 24 years coming in the form of a five track EP titled The Black Forest. For many, a potted history may be in order. Formed in 1985 as a three piece coalescing largely around the songwriting of Matt Love, vocalist Mary Wyer joined the trio just as they were about to record their first single, ‘Small Fish in a Big Machine’. An EP and another single followed but by the end of 1987 and marginalised by a culturally narrow and mainstream focused music industry, like many Australian artists and bands of intellectual and sensitive bent have had to do over the years, the band decided to relocate to London.
In the end, only Love and Wyer made it over and as a result, the two were to became the band’s mainstay members. The initial six months in London proved fruitful in the long term term musically and promotion wise. The lack of a rhythm section necessitated the enlistment of electronic elements and samples for the initial recordings of the ‘Goes So Slow’ 7″, knowledge and experience the duo would keep close thereafter. Their presence also laid the foundation for their later signing to Sarah Records. Upon returning to Sydney, Love and Wyer mixed the single and signed to Phantom Records, enlisting Rob Irwin and Anita Rayner on bass and drums respectively in early 1989. Both have remained since. The single soon hit the import bins in the UK and came to the attention of and was played by John Peel leading Sarah to come on board and re-release the single as well as older material as the Nothing Ever Happens EP in 1990, a year they also released new material, in the form of the melody rich Outgrown This Town EP on Phantom.
Thereafter the band spent much of their time between Australia and the UK and decided to become much more adventurous and experimental with their releases, both in terms of songwriting and recording process resulting in another EP One Step Forward in 1991 and culminating in their only full length album in 1993, the kaleidoscopic 19-track Feral Pop Frenzy. Another release came later that year with the EP Blue Eyes Deceiving Me, which would prove, until now, to be their last. Intending a short break back in Australia, the pace of things just became too much and that break turned into a 19 year hiatus with the full band not coming together in full to play again until 2012. The heightened interest in all things Sarah Records since then ended in them releasing Yellow Food, which captured their four Peel Sessions together and also inspired them to write the material for The Black Forest which gained a release through American label Emotional Response.
The new EP is a bittersweet gem and more than honours their previous material. Opener ‘Clouds’ is a wistful delight with its delicate electric and acoustic guitar interplay and soft subtle keys while first single ‘Such A Good Feeling’ is an upbeat melody driven affair in classic early 90s pop style. Wyer’s vocal hooks dominate the exquisite duality of ‘Our People Travelled Many Moons’, while Love’s unique croon takes centre stage on ‘Slugman’. Stream the album below and get a copy of The Black Forest here. The band launch the EP at The Red Rattler in Sydney September 29.
The Black Forest (Album Stream)
Even As We Speak (AUS)
From the EP, ‘The Black Forest’, Emotional Response.
Even As We Speak Facebook