We can call this a debut record of sorts, as it is the first album to be released under Carla Bozulich’s band moniker, Evangelista. Bozulich’s first record for Constellation, issued in 2006, was released under her own name, and bore the album title Evangelista. That album title has now migrated to become the band name. So…this album is titled Hello, Voyager, by the band Evangelista, featuring Carla Bozulich.
Carla’s 2006 Constellation release was widely celebrated as her strongest, most fearless and compelling record in years, and ended up on many year end lists, including The Wire (UK), Blow Up (Italy) and WMFU (Brian Turner’s blog) to name a few. Carla toured Evangelista all over Europe and North America, with core bandmate Tara Barnes at her side, and a rotating cast of other musicians, including Shahzad Ismaily and members of Thee Silver Mt Zion (all of whom contributed to the original recording as well).
The Evangelista band continues to comprise Carla and Tara as its nucleus, and continues to build on its relationship with Montreal. Hello, Voyager was recorded in Montreal at the Hotel2Tango by Efrim Menuck in late summer 2007, with an even larger cast of Montreal musicians joining Carla, Tara and Shahzad this time around, to work up a more stylistically diverse batch of songs. Raw, beautifully ravaged, semi-improvised soundscapes underpin Carla’s incantatory sung and spoken lyrics on the album’s opening and closing tracks, but much of the rest of the record is more overtly composed. Blistering nuggets like the snarling “Smooth Jazz” and the desperate “Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space” are the most rocking tunes Carla put to tape since the demise of The Geraldine Fibbers, while “The Blue Room” (one of Carla’s finest songs, and one she has been carrying around for many years) was finally captured in a stunning studio arrangement that includes organ, violin, cello and contrebasse. “Lucky Lucky Luck” is a playful, sassy, fractured take on the misfit narrative and “Paper Kitten Claw” is its methodical, reflective, poetic foil. Carla’s voice perfectly sets and channels the prevailing mood on each song, and is strong as ever.