Duncan Evans‘ sophomore release Prayers For An Absentee is a collection of eight prayers transformed into songs that display the next step in his songwriting journey. Inspired by the likes of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Swans, Evans is crafting dark folk rock that fuses elements of post-punk with singer songwriter sensibilities, tinged by psychedelia. His first recording with a full band, this is Duncan Evans exploring sounds reminiscent of acts like Wovenhand, Sparklehorse, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and even Current 93.
Once a guitarist for A Forest Of Stars (under the monicker of Henry Hyde Bronsdon), Duncan Evans has been pursuing his solo career since 2013 when he released the 7″ Bird Of Prey. This was followed by successful performances at Roadburn Festival, Wave Gotik Treffen and supporting Empyrium. 2013 also saw the release of his debut full length Lodestone. With its storyteller approach, his first record has been called a “dark folk masterpiece”.
Prayers For An Absentee is steeped in sadness and what the Portuguese call “saudade” – an inexplicable longing – which runs through the spine of the whole album connecting all the songs from the reality of the everyday to the fantasy of the never. Going against the grain of a society bred on cold isolation Prayers For An Absentee is an achingly warm and open album; at times fragile and quiet, at others abrasive and angered, yet never less than honest and truthful. With cover art by noted underground artist Irrwisch (Hexvessel, Botanist, Der Blutharsch, Prophecy Fest) and lyrics inspired by Cormac McCarthy, Thomas De Quincey and John Berryman among others, Prayers For An Absentee is an album rich with fresh musical ideas, using a lexicon and iconography that one might not have expected after Lodestone. Defined by its poetic sense of yearning and reflecting our own inner turmoil, this record represents a striking artistic rebirth for Duncan Evans.
Below you can listen to the new single of Prayers For An Absentee, called ‘Bring Your Shoulder’. Duncan comments: “Bring Your Shoulder is a song of yearning, loneliness and desperation. It depicts the single-minded resolve of a spurned, dejected and endlessly weeping protagonist who has decided that solace can only be achieved via reconciliation with an estranged companion. Her arms are hung with bracelets and her woollen cardigan smells of nostalgia.
The song was first conceived in embryonic form a few years ago. I revisited it and experimented with a more complex structure but decided ultimately that the song needed to be straighforward and to-the-point with everything unnecessary removed. The arrangement makes full use of the light and shade afforded by working with a full band.
Andy Horry of Tourmaline Films shot, directed and edited the music video. It features me and the band performing live, interspersed with a few short conceptual cutaways, and creates an atmosphere which reflects and augments the song. I particularly like the way the more exuberant scenes provide couterpoint to the severity of subject matter.
Prayers For An Absentee will be released on August 24th through Prophecy Productions. Pre-orders are available through here.