A lot can happen to a moody alien after releasing an album. One can gain popularity, confidence, friends (although one must be on guard ~ would these people be friends were it not for the success of the first album or the intrigue of knowing an alien?). Such things can cause an alien to become less moody, or at the very least to settle on a single mood. These things have happened since we last checked in with the artist, who in the interim has also released brut pop, an album of outtakes and experiments.
no evil features seven guest stars, mostly from the planet Guitar, although one hails from Bowzouki and another from Flute, enjoying elliptical orbits in the same galaxy. The five guitarists are responsible for the smoothing of tone; despite the fact that there are so many of them, their contributions enable the album to flow evenly, which was not the case on in the dark, an album whose eclecticism represented a different sort of appeal. As befits its title, no evil is benign, rock with touches of jazz, not dark enough for the alleys but fitting for the streets.
The head is already nodding to the beat on “a rideout”, a fine introduction which features playful interplay between bass and bells. The drums shift speaker-to-speaker, with a light bit of tap dancing in the background. These stereo effects continue throughout the album, which has been notably well-mastered. By increasing the complexity of his arrangements, the artist has made great strides over the past few months. Most tracks contain both theme and countertheme, aided by delicate riffs; the arrangements are no longer in need of unifying glue.
Crescendoes are for the most part absent, as these pieces are (unsurprisingly) more concerned with mood. The downside is that without them, the tracks blend into each other more than they should. Whenever this occurs, the former haphazardness is missed. The stronger tracks become those with distinctive timbres: the spacious bass of “CONtradiCtion”, the spy movie vibe of “Fischer rules”. As the artist’s career progresses, he may have to make a difficult decision regarding experimentation: whether to proceed in one direction or another, or to choose a middle ground. Whichever way he heads, we’ll still be listening. (Richard Allen)