Ian Evans - Lapsang Souchong

"Lapsang Souchong" is the second album release by London-based singer songwriter Ian Evans. The London scene, and worldwide scene come to think of it, is crammed with a plethora of singer songwriters trying to make an impact and because of the sheer numbers of artists out there, you have to be very good to make an impact. There are exceptions were artists have risen towards the top by being innovative or even quirky; though these are few and far between.

The CD and packaging won't win any awards. The branded CDR arrived in a cut down envelope with the track listing handwritten in biro on the front. This was accompanied by 8 A4 double sided pages of small type faced text. Apparently, this contained the 'clues' to the work. I read the introductory paragraph which included "...The idea was to make an album that would be a treasure map, to lead listeners onto interesting things. It's the tip of an ice berg, not the whole thing. Also, you don't have to read this.." I promptly put the text down and started to listen to the CD.

The CD is quite a good mixture of tracks; some pop-folk, prog rock and sometimes even bordering on punk. The level of musicianship is unquestionable and the songwriting more than adequate. The main let down for me is the quality of Evans' singing; sometimes barely able to sing in key, the voice becomes more and more grating. Because of this I found it difficult to listen to the whole album in one sitting (I really, really tried). This is a concept album and does have some good moments. There are some intricate-sounding instrumental parts and some well structured musical backing. Evans has put an enormous amount of effort into the songs and deserves some recognition for that but it's difficult do appreciate his work behind the annoying, and not so flattering, vocals. The production also has a habit of letting the songs down; vocals too high far too often and the balance not quite there.

All in all, this was an uncomfortable experience but the frustration with the lack of balance, final mastering of the recordings and that annoying vocal didn't do justice to Evans' talents.