I'm not sure if anyone else has said it, but the AHA Festival kicked some serious ass. I know, I know—it was weeks ago, but the day was so beautiful and the tunes were so righteous that something had to be said. And while acts like Jupiter Spiral and D Numbers fully slayed (and left anyone who saw them thinking, "Dayamm!" with their jaws agape) the winner of the day, so to speak, was surely art-rock act, Evarusnik.
The former two-piece act composed by Andrew Tumason and Miranda Scott, has been hard at work both nailing down permanent band members Taylor Parnell and Peter Duggan, and supporting their most recent release, In a Poker Slash Refrain. SFR wrote about the record when it first dropped, but the June release is finally hitting its stride and taking the band in exciting new directions. There's a new emphasis on cohesion that brings the ethereal and haunting sounds into a new realm of focus and accessibility. Still beautiful and hard to relinquish, the songs have taken a darker turn à la sinister Fiona Apple-type vocals, and larger than life piano arrangements. The new record has also allowed Evarusnik to steer all of their attention in one direction.
"I've always wanted to play more and different material at every show, but for the first time we have a set of material that is all from the album and this has allowed us to grow tighter and tighter and zero in on what it is that we want to express artistically," Tumason tells SFR. "Adding [Parnell and Duggan] has also allowed us to really dig in and create these huge sounds that audiences can almost see…I ask my friends, 'Did you see that!?' and they always ask if I mean 'Did they hear it', but the way these songs have evolved creates a sort of wall of sound that's almost visible."
Tumason comes from a musical family. His father is an accordionist/banjo player and, as such, composes alongside Scott on multiple instruments. They pull inspiration from obvious places such as classical music or indie piano-based rock, but also from less-noticeable areas like African drumming.
"We're still trying to find that right sound live, how to layer the different sounds in such a way that fully accentuate the feeling that goes into our songs and that went into the record and, ultimately, it's like artwork," Tumason says. "We really like to put an emphasis on expressing our music whether it's just two of us onstage or a whole symphony like with our first record. Taking that next step, introducing elements like new members and consistently making that sound bigger and bigger is the direction we're heading in."
In a Poker Slash Refrain was recorded in San Francisco over a three-week period on 2-inch analog tape. For those of you unfamiliar with the musical recording process, this is a big deal. According to Tumason, "It allows the listener to hear what we are actually doing. We used computers here and there, but there is no Auto-Tune or over-production."
This results in a warmer overall feeling or, at the very least, a return to the glory days of recording. It's sad to have to call it vintage equipment when it sounds so much better than today's any-jerk-with-GarageBand-can-release-a-record world.
Evarusnik will be debuting new material from the record as well as playing the hits at an upcoming performance alongside Luke Carr's Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand at the O'Shaughnessy Performance Space at Santa Fe University of Art & Design.
Tumason is almost giddy at the possibilities. "It's a listening room with a grand piano so I get this feeling we'll be able to really get in there and play loud," he enthuses.
The next step for Evarusnik is to take their show on the road and to record even more material.
"We potentially have like, two or three more albums under our sleeve," Tumason says. "And I can't wait to show everyone what they're all about."
Evarusnik w/ Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand
7:30 pm Friday, Oct. 11. $10
O'Shaughnessy Performance Space 1600 St. Michael's Dr.,