Seventeen Evergreen: Steady On, Scientist!
Five years after the release of their debut LP, Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth, Seventeen Evergreen made an exciting return this Autumn with the smash success of the Terri Timely video for “Polarity Song,” which debuted via Gorilla vs. Bear and hit well over 100,000 views in its first week online, seeing coverage by Stereogum, Filter, Elle, Paper, Boing Boing, SF Weekly, The Huffington Post and much more. Now the band is gearing up for the March 26, 2012 release of its sophomore long player, Steady On, Scientist!, via Lucky Number.
Opening with “Polarity Song,” the album brashly rides in on crunked beats and a beastly roar of electronica. It is thematically inspired in parts by pseudo-science and pataphysics, and the idea that, in these confused times, everyone is a scientist. It is a concisely eclectic 8-track album that effortlessly embraces ideas of past, present and future, beyond audio in its visual imagination.
Seventeen Evergreen are cognitive computers but, foremost, are both singers and multi-instrumentalists Caleb Pate and Nephi Evans, who are residents of San Francisco’s North Beach community. As the band, they have crafted concentrated songs in as instinctive and spontaneous a manner as possible. In this age where entertainment needs to provide everything, here we have that rare long-player which delivers profuse positive energy, detailed sensitivity, cutting lyricism, radical mixology and more on every listen; simultaneously big-ticking boxes and breaking boundaries. A Technics home console synthesiser became a cornerstone to many of the tracks, with freshness and urgency evoked by blending drum machines with improvised drums, percussion and lead melody lines for maximum dynamism.
Sonic references are broad, explosive and reformulated. Late 80s/early 90s dance era pulsing pop-beats rise, hot with hope, fuelled by unique bass-lines, played like classic 60s Fender riffs, but with added synth propulsion, whilst lyrical and musical themes are always stretching beyond norms. Lyrics are immediately provoking and mind grabbing (“Ladies and gentlemen, I could have been the President, so I was told back when I was so much younger that it might have meant something” opens future single “President Clavioline”. Oppositely wistful in its lyricism, “Del Paso Heights”, is louche and ageless in its futuristic texture, but exudes similar sing-a-long abandon. Across the album, vocals are textured like instruments in their own right.
This album is about space and density – the polarity and the duplicity of life. Names like New Order, Air, Screamadelica-era Primal Scream, Sonic Youth or Flaming Lips may come to mind, but sonically and spiritually, it’s a singularly triumphant and liberating concoction, an anthemic vision. Like their debut, “Steady On, Scientist!” is entirely self-written, recorded and produced and, once again, it emphasizes its creators clear and unique identity, away from the pack.