Everlyn - Anything but Easy
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: October 2, 2009
Everlyn's Anything but Easy EP is one that catches you off-guard. You read the staple, routine classification of the band - female-fronted indie rock from Spain - and you expect to hear another run-of-the-mill attempt at the sound that few bands have managed to pull off. You can count the major female-fronted rock acts on two hands; you have the mainstream success of Paramore, Evanescence, and Avril Lavigne, and we've seen the formation and early promise of less popular acts Flyleaf, Metric and Tegan & Sara. Meanwhile, there are many bands who attempt the sound and get overlooked or ignored, with softer and less aggressive female vocalists getting lost in and overshadowed by the instrumentation. Everlyn's self-released debut shows the group's capacity for featuring their singer, Karol's, stunning vocals while still putting out an impressive musical effort. (Note: After extensive searching, I was only able to find a first name for Karol, if anyone knows her full name, please feel free to correct me.)
Opener "Hello Dreamers, Bye Schemers" pleasantly tweaks the listener's ears from the start. A crunchy guitar riff kicks off the EP with a sense of urgency, and when Karol's voice kicks in, it is made obvious that the vocals on this record will be all but overshadowed. Throughout the track, she shines while being beautifully complemented by a constant metallic-sounding guitar. The EP's title track shows Everlyn's pop sensibility by starting slow then escalating into an extremely catchy, rhythmic chorus that Karol completely dominates with her voice. As the listener reaches the middle of the five-song EP, Everlyn calms things down a bit with "Toronto Is Not That Faraway," a ballad-ish kind of number which is highlighted by unexpected background vocals in the chorus. That leads into "3 Years Ago," the best song on Anything but Easy. Just when the listener thinks that Everlyn's formula might getting a bit repetitive, "3 Years Ago" stands out with the best instrumental effort on the EP and what has by now become an expected strong vocal performance by Karol. Finally, Everlyn ends their debut release much how they began it. "212°F" starts off in a hurry with a rocking guitar riff and goes on to reveal a very well-constructed song that many listeners will favor because of the more prominent guitar role.
Everlyn isn't hiding anything; they have found a formula for writing songs that is exactly what they need. Karol's voice would be average in many settings and the instrumentation on this album, while very well put together, benefits enormously from her voice. Producer Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Senses Fail) does a great job in the important role of balancing the vocals and instruments, and it is evident that the band have found an equilibrium on Anything but Easy, which bodes well for an exciting future. However, only time will tell if we will one day be able to place Everlyn among their more prominent predecessors.