Carla Bozulich’s first album for Constellation, Evangelista, was a broken, harrowing soul-baring and burden-bearing record in the manner of John Cale’s Music For A New Society or the first Throwing Muses LP. The title track especially was an emotionally difficult listen. Now Evangelista the album has morphed into Evangelista the group, although who apart from Bozulich and bassist Tara Barnes are actually paid-up members, and who are simply guests isn’t totally clear. Popping up along the way are the usual Hotel2Tango suspects like Eric Craven, Jessica and Nadia Moss, Thierry Amar, Brooke Crouser and Efrim Menuck. Also, perhaps surprisingly, Nels Cline makes a brief appearance on “The Blue Room”
Generally Hello, Voyager is lighter in mood, if not in tone, than its predecessor. Leaving aside the two book-ending tracks, that is. “For The Li’l Dudes” is a beautiful chamber instrumental for string quintet, and “The Blue Room” almost a conventional ballad – and a very good one at that. “Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space” is a two and a half minute, high octane punk track that leads into “The Frozen Dress”, a challenging, wordless vocal drone piece, interspersed by “fucked up guitar” (Carla’s description) that sounds like the ominous snoring of a pretty scary dragon. “Paper Kitten Claw” is a beautiful, if sombre, tune coloured by organ stabs and almost baroque violin from Jessica Moss.
These seven tunes make for a juicy middle: eclectic, by turns experimental and easily accessible, but generally almost cheerful. The tone of the book-ending tracks is black and apocalyptic. “Winds Of Saint Anne” is a relatively brief howl of anguish. “Hello Voyager” is a fire and brimstone sermon of self-laceration. Like Ginsberg’s Howl mixed with a mad street corner preacher. Twelve minutes of clattering percussion, fractured, spitting guitar, and above it all Carla Bozulich’s desperate, tortured declamations. It ends in exhausted calm and spent absolution with an affirmation in the redemptive power of love. It’s an absolutely breathtaking piece of music, and is a fitting end to a pretty stunning album.
1 Winds of Saint Anne (4:05)
2 Smooth Jazz (2:29)
3 Lucky Lucky Lucky (3:27)
4 For The L’il Dudes (2:47)
5 The Blue Room (4:53)
6 Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space (2:26)
7 The Frozen Dress (6:27)
8 Paper Kitten Claw (5:14)
9 Hello, Voyager! (12:12)