If there was one thing that Bob Evans (aka Kevin Mitchell) has learned about making albums, it would be that it’s all about keeping perspective.
A lesson that was well learned for the lauded songwriter on his sixth Bob Evans studio album, Tomorrowland, which dropped on Friday.
“Sometimes in the studio it’s like, I’ve got one chance to make things perfect and you can really obsess over things but, this time around, I dunno. Maybe I’ve made so many records now I’ve finally got to the point where my career does not revolve around this one album, I’m just recording a moment in time – it’s not everything,” Kevin told Newcastle Live.
“Just feeling that way and knowing that I’ve made a bunch of records before, and I’m probably going to make a bunch of records after this one. So, there was something quite freeing about that.”
Check out Born Yesterday below
That sense of freedom is something that is more than evident on Bob’s sixth studio album. Heralded by the glistening pop gems Born Yesterday and Concrete Heart, Tomorrowland is arguably the most eclectic Bob Evans release to date.
Dripping with ear worm-worthy hooks and gorgeous jangly guitar tones that would make the likes of Johnny Marr and Teenage Fanclub proud, Tomorrowland effortlessly shifts into mid-tempo Springsteen-esque territory (Always You, I Don’t Want To Do Anything Without You), without skipping a beat, and without ever sacrificing any Bob Evans-ness.
“I started writing for this record in 2017 but I didn’t start getting good songs coming until probably 2018,” Kevin explained.
“I was listening to a lot of ’80s classic rock. I was really getting into specific things like the chorusy electric guitar – The Smiths, The Cure, and stuff like that.
“For Car Boot Sale, I wanted to revisit a kind of aesthetic I was chasing with the first couple of Bob records, which I did, and I was really happy with the results. When it was done, I was really kind of ready to move on.”
There is also palpable energy that permeates every corner of Tomorrowland, even in its more subtle moments, something Kevin attributed to a different recording approach to previous Bob Evans records.
“The band got down 11 songs in six days,” Kevin said.
“I’ve never worked that fast before, but I really wanted to make an album that had a little bit of that life and electricity that only comes with bands playing in a room together and not doing lots of overdubs.
“All the previous albums that I’ve made, every single one of them, have been heavily crafted, whereas this was so different because the first layer of the song was, like, the whole band, and really all we did after that was vocals and little bits of other things like brass and other singers.”
Despite Bob Evans being six albums deep (12 if you count his output with Jebediah and Basement Birds), Kevin said that he still feels a strong sense of the ‘what ifs’ around the start of any new album cycle.
I’ve never worked that fast before but I really wanted to make an album that had a little bit of that life and electricity that only comes with bands playing in a room together and not doing lots of overdubs.Bob Evans
But two well-received singles in Concrete Heart and Born Yesterday were a pretty strong indication Kevin was on the right track with Tomorrowland.
“Whenever you’ve made a record and people start hearing it, you always go into that thinking that what you’ve done is good and people will connect with it, but it doesn’t always happen – sometimes it just doesn’t connect,” he said.
“So, I guess it’s more of a relief when things are working. I thought they would, but it’s kind of nice to have that affirmed.
“But certainly Born Yesterday particularly got a much bigger reaction than I was anticipating. I feel like I’ve made a really good record. I think it’s one of my favourites so I’m hoping it will connect with lots of people.”
Check out Concrete Heart below
Well, Bob Evans will have that chance to connect with people in the flesh when he hits the road for an extensive national tour that will roll into Lizotte’s on Thursday 17 June.
“I think my family is getting sick of me,” Kevin laughed.
“I’ve never been at home so much than the last 12 months. Basically last year I barely left my suburb between March and November. I think I only got into Melbourne twice in that whole time.
“So, I mean I definitely need to get out more and this tour will hopefully scratch that itch and for the people coming along. as well.”
Catch Bob Evans at Lizotte’s on Thursday 17 June. Get your tickets here. Tomorrowland is out now.