EVANGELISTA: Hello, Voyager: CD

May 26, 2008

Back in 2006, I interviewed Carla Bozulich about Evangelista, her first record on Montreal’s Constellation label, produced by Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt. Zion, and featuring members of same. We’d discussed how the album was (mis)taken by various listeners for “torment,” “an attack on the senses,” or an “exorcism.” Bozulich’s own intent was to produce something that acknowledged pain, but to a healing end; it was “for people that can respond to sound and love the way other people respond to God,” for people who use musicto lift themselves up and rise up above things that might normally kick their ass.” Her new album, now under the band name Evangelista (and again on Constellation with Efrim and Co. on board, along with Shazad Ismaily and Tara Barnes) continues in the same vein—and, at-times, painful exaltation with cathartic stabs at transcendence and an emotional range that contains melancholy at one end and a violent, rapturous release at the other. A few tracks (“Smooth Jazz,” “Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space,” and “Hello, Voyager” itself, which scares me a bit) are even tougher than anything on the previous album—“The Blue Mask” tough, “Radio Ethiopia” tough, Kim Gordon doing “I Wanna Be Your Dog” tough—while a sassy, streetwise, fuck-you playfulness peeks in elsewhere (“Lucky Lucky Luck”). The one track that I can’t quite hook onto yet is the mournful, gentle “The Blue Room,” with fellow former Geraldine Fibbers member Nels Cline contributing winsome acoustic twelve-string work. It’s pretty and the lyrics are moving, but it’s a bit too sonically nice for the rough-and-tumble forcefulness of the rest of the disc, and makes the album just a tad less cohesive than the previous. Still, this is one strong-as-fuck rock record, and it’d be nice if more people realized how great Bozulich was. –Allan MacInnis 

 –guest (Constellation)