EP REVIEW: Evan Roth – The Way It Was

Los Angeles hailing multi-instrumentalist, Evan Roth appears to be a man of many talents. In addition to his latest endeavours as an independent musician, Roth is a trained composer and producer, having produced a number of acclaimed film scores. His debut 5-track EP, The Way It Was is a brief collection of cinematically inclined, expertly produced indie pop tracks.

‘City Lights’ opens with a distinctly classical overture of violin work, which gradually gives over to a sighing symphonic amalgamation of tinkling sound. Roth’s cinematic influences are starkly apparent within the first few bars of the track, which contributes a distinct edge to his sound as a whole. Within seconds the orchestral intro is dropped, to be replaced by the heady indie-pop sound in which the former half of the EP is steeped. Up tempo and simply bred for radio the track, while occasionally falling into the generic trap musicians are so prone to in this over-saturated genre, serves as an excellent introduction to Roth’s work.

Changing track, ‘Walk Away’ is fronted by a heavy percussive beat, the vocal qualities echoing the staccato rhythm of the underlying drum work. The simplicity of the song is occasionally offset by the brief guitar or synth interjection as the momentum gradually builds and dissipates intermittently. Steeped in nostalgia, ‘Silhouette’ is dominated by tinkling piano work, once again lending itself to the cinematically inclined.  The gradual build of the string section coupled with silvery female backing vocals contributes a certain dramatic edge to the track, which explores a failing relationship: “We are toxic to the point of no return.”

The penultimate track, ‘Interlude’, consists wholly of one minute of eerily undulating psychedelic synth work, the fluctuating sound the aural equivalent of a bulbously growing and shrinking sphere of sound – contributing a striking facet to the project. The title track, ‘The Way It Was’, closes the EP on an aptly low octave note. Largely piano-centric this track too is soaked in melancholia, falsetto vocals are juxtaposed by markedly lower key moments, once again contributing just the edge needed to prevent the track from falling into a generic trap.

6/10

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