Duncan Evans / Wilderness Hymnal – Where Liars Fear You

Splits are always odd projects. They’re often born out of budgetary convenience, as it’s cheaper to split the cost of a release between multiple acts. This has created a number of odd bedfellows throughout the years (I don’t care if they’re friends, going from Coalesce to the Get Up Kids on the same disc feels like sonic whiplash). But sometimes, there’s a certain magic that happens on a split. The common ground the artists share—as small as that ground may be—enhances the differences between the two, contrasting like accent colors. This effect is amplified if those splits include any collaboration between the contributors, often becoming larger than the sum of their parts.

And on Until Liars Fear You, the collaboration between the haunting, atmospheric, emotional post rock psychedelia of Wilderness Hymn and the stark, melancholy folk/post punk of Duncan Evans, the pairing between the two projects is simply kaleidoscopic.

The Wilderness Hymn half opens the split with five gorgeous tracks filled with spacious guitars, lush strings, cinematic arrangements, and the haunting voice of bandleader Javier Wallis. Duncan Evans joins for a collaborative track, the brooding, swelling “Three Tempers,” before taking control of the track list with heavy electronics and a theatric voice not unlike Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith or certain eras of David Bowie. You might think that the shift on sonic palette would seem jarring, but Evans’ dramatic vocal delivery is more than enough to keep the wash of synthesizers from feeling cold and emotionless.

Even the split’s most polar opposite moments—Evans’ buzzy “The Waiting Room (No Exit, Pt 1),” which feels like a Kraftwerk influenced one-man show, and Wilderness Hymnal’s Alcest-by-way-of-Muse epic “I Buried My Teeth”—complement each other more than they clash, the sonic journey laid out carefully by the track listing. In fact, the only moment that might feel jarring is the operatic guest vocals on Evans’ “The Stars (No Exit Pt 2),” but once the surprise wears off, it’s quite lovely.

However, I find myself wishing that the split had given more run time to Wilderness Hymnal. While each project has five tracks of their own, the first and last of Wilderness Hymnal’s tracks are more interludes than proper songs. While they bracket the rest of the songs quite well, it’s hard not to want more when the three songs on the split are so strong.

But, that’s really a minor grievance. Overall, Until Liars Fear You is a strong offering from both projects, and any fan of dramatic, emotional music should do well not to ignore it.

Follow Duncan Evans on Instagram. Follow Wilderness Hymnal on Instagram.

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