REVIEW: Undersound (Gareth Evans) – No More Shooting Stars (album on NEXGEN Music)

Gareth Evans was a founder member of Haverfordwest band The Cheapskates – a band which, as their name cleverly suggests, rode the zeitgeist of the ska/punk/skate explosion at the turn of the millennium.

Since relocating to Cardiff, multi-instrumentalist Gareth has busied himself with a bewildering variety of musical projects.

He has performed with symphony and chamber orchestras, been involved with musical theatre, as a drum and bass DJ he has worked with a number of luminaries in the genre and, with amazing young vocalist Bella Collins, he has a funk/jazz/blues duo that has wowed audiences at Tenby Blues Festival and Brecon Jazz.

As Undersound he has now released his No More Shooting Stars album – written, recorded and mixed himself in his home studio, with Gareth playing all the instruments (except for another Haverfordwest old-boy Ben Thorpe on trombone, and some vocal contributions from Bella) – this is nothing short of a minor masterpiece of eclectic, post-trip hop, lo-fi, high flying funky folderol.

Despite being influenced (seems like it to this critic cad anyway) by the likes of Portishead and Ronnie Size, the psyche flavoured wig-outs of Funkadelic, and the narcoleptic dreamscapes of Spiritualized, it is very much Gareth’s own work.

A glorious amalgam of disparate influences that are brought together to create a uniquely enjoyable, thrilling, and expertly crafted work.

Lyrically the album deals with familiar tropes of love longed for, lost and won, with fun, and the human condition. All set within a sonic landscape on which the horn arrangements, the delicious piano, and the everchanging but never dragging beats shine brightest.

I’m not going to single out any specific tracks (though the album has two singles on it) because you are going to check it out for yourself – it is available on all the usual platforms – and not because I say so. No, you are going to do so because you are a lover of mighty fine music.

BB Skone