Evelyn Frances: Seed
review + photos by Alex Free
Evelyn Frances is a singer / songwriter based in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Her debut album Seed was released April 26th 2019 via Spirit House Records and Source Material and is available for streaming on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.
Within each of the seven songs off of Seed, there is a moment when you find yourself singing along. Then moving along with the rhythms, feeling along with the tones. This happens even on the first listen, which is a trend that grows with every replay. Each song, in a duration of minutes, seconds, moments, stretches out into a temporary microcosm—its own contained construction of sound.
At times Seed is stripped down and spare, just a voice and a heartbeat. At others it’s cacophonous with layered rhythms, sustained tones, and Evelyn’s own multiplied voice. Either way, there’s the remaining impression that each song was built with the minimal elements needed. Each is like a swallow’s nest that was crafted out of the materials immediately around it. Each is built perfectly to nest an idea, with no remaining need and no excess.
When there is an abrupt cut-off or silence, it is a pause that makes you pay attention. It’s like Evelyn’s songs have become the natural state of sound, and in the silence between or within songs you’re expectant, waiting for them to continue. Seed is an album that inspires restlessness, makes you want to move, to find a place where you can see so much of the sky at once.
As a whole, Seed is often wordless. But when words appear out of the network of sounds, before imbedding or submerging themselves again, they emerge with clarity and height and tension. When Evelyn sings—
Do you like me?
Do you love me?
—you remember every time you asked someone to be close to you and were unsure of their response. You remember that point of transition from insecurity to the full vulnerability of telling them you love them, and asking them to love you, too.
It is an album of only perfect moments, only clear ones. Months and months stand behind it of building up and paring down to what is held dear and close. It says so much about being alone, about patience and growth, about finding one, or a few people to rely on. As it plays, Seed asks you to be more attuned to it, to yourself, to your surroundings, and who is with you there. By the time the album is over, closing with its title song, you end ready to listen to what’s going on around you.