Twenty years ago, exactly, the best album you’ve never heard appeared, Kevin McCormick’s With the Coming of Evening. Over the next several days, we’ll be celebrating the release of what should be regarded as a post-rock/post-prog classic. “Impressionist prog” might be a good label, if we didn’t despise labels so much.
Our first reviewer, Progarchist Extraordinaire, John Deasey.–ed.
John Deasey: I’d heard the name, Kevin McCormick before, mentioned on various websites, as being akin to Talk Talk circa “Spirit of Eden” so it wasn’t a huge surprise to find subtle percussion, carefully phrased vocals, hushed, calm mixtures of woodwind, jazz, folk and prog.
What was a surprise is to find this album wasn’t a great success when it was released in 1993 and somehow flew under the radar.
Ahead of its time ? Well, if “Spirit of Eden” is anything to go by I’d say yes, this is the case. Maybe the music world wasn’t quite ready for such an esoteric mix of styles, textures and atmosphere.
The Talk Talk influence is well to the fore, but rather than sounding like a Mark Hollis clone, McCormick sounds more like Nine Horse-era David Sylvain. Sonorous, tender, melodic and understated.
This really is an album to play in its entirety, save for a couple of tracks which could quietly be nudged onto someone else’s playlist perhaps. For example ‘Looks Like Rain’ really doesn’t belong here, with its bluesy, roots feel and good safely be culled on any personal re-mastering !
There are two Japanese inspired instrumentals. The first – ‘Sho Song’ – is utterly fantastic for a minute or so, but then becomes tiring and a bit jarring. The second – ‘Rokudan’ – is a wonderful piece worthy of any Craig Armstrong album with a definite cinematic atmosphere. This track also brings to mind the beautiful Sigur Ros EP ‘Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do’ with droplets of sound, texture and light forming a sonically wonderful vibe.
McCormick is a classically trained guitarist and it shows. Tracks such as ‘Uncovered’ and ‘Summoned’ have a lovely understated style where his skill as a guitarist shine through.
What I like about this album is the generally un-structured feel to many of the songs. They meander. They explore. They are given space to develop and nothing feels rushed.
I’ve mentioned in other reviews about my fondness for Scandinavian bands and their ease at creating space and breadth in their music. This same feel is here and the end result is a spiritual, thoughtful, impressive album that grows with each listen.
It’s is also worth mentioning it sounds as though it could have been released yesterday, such is its relevance.