The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure. – Sigmund Freud, 1927
While it may be a bit of a stretch to involve psychoanalysis when talking about an indie rock record, I do believe music can be a fantastic medium to combat mental strongholds. If you haven’t noticed, the world is in complete chaos from social issues to political unrest. Laughing at your problems may sound dark to some, but that particular take fuels The End, Again, the new album from The Evening Attraction.
If defusing stress is a gift, The Evening Attraction present it with the finest of wrapping paper and bows.
With elements of garage rock and early-60s jazz, The Evening Attraction just might be Chicago’s best-kept secret. In a scene heavy on noise rock and hip-hop, making a name for yourself with a throw-back sound is no easy task. Chicago artists either make enough noise to drown out your woes or face them with unflinching confidence. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with either approach, combining them is far more interesting.
On one hand The End, Again is a power pop tour de force with jangly guitars and retro reverb vocals. The pop songs like the lead single “Say You Will” blends pre-punk of The Kinks with the wholesome goodness of The Monkees. While side B’s “Three In The Mornin'” puts the focus on darker grooves to correspond with its introspective themes. Being able to transition between pop and blues seamlessly is what sets The Evening Attraction apart from other retro-flavored acts in the genre.
The experimentation with thematics goes far beyond lyrics and finds it’s way into the instrumentation as well.
The primary songwriters of The Evening Attraction often cite The Beach Boys as a major influence which makes total sense production-wise. However, that’s not to say The End, Again is a nostalgic romp. There’s just enough vintage flair to remind you of Pet Sounds yet everything sounds fresh and relevant. The occasional use of a brass ensemble adds more tonal texture than winking at the band’s influences. Using production to lighten the mood on even the darkest moments is a smart move. Once again showcasing The Evening Attraction’s refusal to take themselves too seriously.
I received the album on vinyl through Classic Waxx Records. (The same label who released a 7″ from The Evening Attraction in 2016) The vinyl-only label’s attention to detail is phenomenal! The archaic yet tasteful artwork on the front and back, down to the record’s center label, tell me Classic Waxxx are on the same page with The Evening Attraction’s artistic direction. One of the few aspects that makes this album feel so special. Vinyl is the hands down best way to experience The End, Again.
Everything about The End, Again tells me it’s a modern classic by design.
It’s common to see artists and listeners look back to a simpler time but hanging out there for too long can be equally as destructive as ignoring the problem itself. However, just as Freud suggests in his theory of black comedy, we can remove the power from a threat by simply finding the humor in it! When The Evening Attraction take that approach, we get the first fine rock n’ roll record of 2018.
Photography by Alec Basse