There is an easy intimacy to Andy Evans' latest album, called Miracle. In fact, it's so easy that it verges on not allowing the luxury of emotional commitment, because the music, Evans' voice, even the arrangements, is safe. Restraint, unobtrusiveness and delicacy of allusion are the key aspects of Miracle, which is the type of music one expects to find for sale at Starbuck's, which likes to portray itself as hip and a la mode. In other words, Evans writes and plays a sanitized fusion of rock, blues and soul. At the present juncture, Evans hangs his hat in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which, when it comes to music, is upmarket, compared to Austin, Houston or Midland. The latter cities are more parochial and thus not averse to a little musical overcompensation in the sense of vulgar, edgy rock and roll.
Miracle contains nine tracks, well, really only eight, because the first track, 'Intro', doesn't count. Just over sixty seconds long, it can only be described as a few notes of music made ambiguous by the luminous sheen of noise. The title track, 'Miracle', a song about the marvel love. Without a doubt, it is the best song on the album, a blues-rock-pop tune, with a likeable melody and spiffy guitar riffs. Essentially, it has the makings of a hit song, except for one problem: it's not memorable. '45' is a country blues song, with affecting vocals and a genteel lead guitar.
'Lesson Learned' begins with a laidback intro and then picks up a bit as the rest of the band joins in. Effective guitar accents give a simple song some flavour. A big band brass section provides the opening bars to 'Shape of Love', a funky country western song that fails to complement Evans' voice or perhaps it's the other way around. Either way, the song cries out for a growling, guttural lead singer.
Evans finally injects some raw rock and roll on 'Judas', a song thick with warped guitars and a Jimmy Page grinding aura, along with bounce back vocalizations. And although 'Judas' seems to be out of place on the album, simply because it's not safe like all the others, it demonstrates that Evans can get down and dirty.
The intro to 'I Wish She Was Mine' is a capella, and Evans' voice, which is clean and resonant, pulls it off with aplomb. But once the slow, bluesy melody kicks in, Evans' voice isn't up to the task. 'Elemental', probably the shakiest song on the album, comes across as slightly bluesy and appropriate for a lounge bar.
The last song, 'Make It', is a heavy, slow, bluesy rocker, where Evans lets his emotions flow through his voice, which is raw and plaintive. Miracle is a decent effort that could be so much more. Evans has beau coup talent but, by refusing to perform without a safety net, his songs become predictably benign and claim no colour.
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