Australian trio EVOLETAH has returned with Run with the Hunted, the follow-up to their 2014 disc We Ache for the Moon. The group consists of Matt Cahill (vocals/guitars/drums), Benjamin Johns (piano/keyboards), and Michael Shanahan (basses/acoustic guitar). This is a jazz-trio setup, and that is the starting point for much of the music on the record. If you had to file this on your shelf, it would land somewhere between Norah Jones (for the jazz feel) and Van Morrison (for the variety), only Run with the Hunted is a bit darker and more introspective than either.
There are layers and textures throughout Run with the Hunted. Each song has a very well-thought-out arrangement. Shanahan interweaves electric and acoustic basses so seamlessly that I only noticed when I tried to. Johns has tracked in pianos, electric pianos and organs, each with its own voice; his playing stands out particularly on “Boxing Shadows.” Cahill’s drumming is tasteful, even melodic, everywhere. His vocals fit the music perfectly.
Sonic surprises are sprinkled throughout the record to delight the listener. Cahill has written lush string arrangements, ably played by Charlotte Baker-Simpson (violins) and Sam Sheffield (cello). There are trumpet and saxophone parts too. The album features two guest female vocalists (Heather Christie on “Look Before You Leap” and Shanna Ransley on “A Still Heart”), and their performances are impeccable. In an added bonus, Cahill breaks out the E-Bow, which would make The Edge proud.
No matter which track you decide to play, you won’t go wrong: there’s not a dead spot anywhere on the record. If you choose to play it in order, you’ll enjoy a nice progression of feels--while EVOLETAH starts with a jazzy swing on “Beguiled,” they finish in more of a rock vein on “Hell or High Water.” The transition is smooth and natural--again, you wouldn’t notice unless you tried to. In an added bonus, the band includes two mixes of “Haunted.” You can decide which you prefer; for me, the Seance Mix was the choice with the acoustic guitar solo really popping.
EVOLETAH’s Run with the Hunted is a terrific collection. Each listen uncovers new layers as part of a beautiful overall sound. Give it a spin!
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