Photo: Khufu Najee
Few artists can measure the transitional success young Evann has had in such a brief career; it is prodigious and plainly obvious to be the foundation for what might be one of the greats of their generation. What can be jarring about consuming their second full-length release is how admittedly this is a record that they have matured on from; a collage of teenage antagonisms, joys and exploration with so much more yet to be revealed. I won't siphon any attention off the record for hyperbolic purposes, this is Evann's journal of self-discovery in Derby, Kansas and it is a prerequisite for understanding the smart, creative denizens of small-town America.
Evann is informed by what most people endure in high school but views and captures in a sonic audit that seems wildly mature and adult-like. "BOPEEP" illustrates this contrast perfectly. As they described it, “Character Development is one of many phases of my life I've been able to encapsulate. If this project had a label on it like a scrapbook would, it'd say 'SOPHOMORE YEAR OF HIGHSCHOOL 2018-2019.' It's a character, with a full backstory and all sorts of obstacles. It's a snow globe forever holding a very specific time and place in my life that has passed and exists only to give context to the next that will do the same for whatever after and so on and so forth. Character Development is a shed layer of skin. A very nice, meaningful shed layer of skin.”
Evann self-describes their inspirational character as fluid (but their love of Prince is foundational and very obvious, see "COCO PEBBLES"), not stationary, always pulling and prodding concepts into the dough for their songs. That roulette wheel of imagination, that ether of endlessly bouncing ideas create incomprehensibly deliberate songs, compositions that when they come rest are crisply beautiful. By using what they describe as a "good double-edged sword" to nuance creative efforts to a place of extraordinary songwriting prowess, Evann is capable of structuring any emotion into any pop context, likely only held back by their admitted fears and self-criticism.
In short, "Character Development" does speak for itself. It is a harmonious gift of elegance, innocence, and a promise of understanding. A record that will inevitably end up on list, articles like this full of accolades, but most importantly it will be a mantra for young fans figuring it all out themselves, a map in the stars, where Evann most assuredly belongs.
Listen to Character Development below: