Ahead of the forthcoming album, Sentinel, Richard Evans brings us a cool slice of electro-pop, one whose melodic infectiousness and shimmering goodness delivers an altogether darker message. Black Rain was the name given to the radioactive percipitation that fell after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so the subject matter here is a world away from the usual pop fare. (Not counting OMD’s Enola Gay, of course.)
A melding of analogue synths, mechanical beats and melodic vocal hooks, it is loaded with deep and meaningful sonics, not least the digitised introductory repetition of “hibakusha”, the Japanese word for a radiation affected person.
It is the perfect introduction to an album that will deal with all manner of pertinent and poignant themes – from the impact of micro-plastics to the paranoia of COVID; from the origins of life to global climate protests – and if these sound like intense, not to mention intensely important issues, and they are, the pill is made sweet by the wonderful melodics and smooth musical package that he wraps it up in.
And if you think that you have heard of Richard Evans before it will have probably been as keyboardist with indie icons James. although those with longer memories may recall his work as singer-songwriter and guitarist with St Vitus Dancers.
But that was then and this is now, and now is all about scintillating synths and songs with hidden depths. And with the album limited to 300 copies of 180g white vinyl, those collectors and aficionados of the physical music form should form an orderly (if virtual) cue, here.