Evoletah’s 2020 release ‘Run With The Hunted’ wasn’t quite as well rounded as their previous offering, the absolutely stunning ‘We Ache For The Moon’, but it took the Australian band further into a world of introspection in a way that, if approached in the right mood, showed off some great atmospheres. With no help from a mixed up world, it took Matt Cahill and Ben Johns three years to craft a follow up, and much like its slow gestation period, 2023’s ‘Calliope Dreaming’ is in no rush to grab the audience’s attention. Although a slow burning listen, it continues an interesting journey transitioning further from a landscape of adult rock and pop into a world of downtempo grooves and jazz/lounge inspired sounds. Despite being even more laid back, it’s actually a better album than ‘Run With The Hunted’, which proves that Evoletah aren’t stuck in a rut, or cursed by a feeling of diminishing returns.
Long before Matt Cahill became vocalist/guitarist with Evoletah, he was a member of Aussie rock band The Violets. The Violets received critical acclaim in Australia, but like so many other bands from the southern hemisphere, they didn’t really achieve any commercial success overseas. They were always a band Matt looked upon favourably, but the more the years passed and the more Evoletah covered new musical ground – since 2012, they’ve evolved from being an alternative rock band, into an almost proggy affair, taking in elements of pop, jazz and electronica along the way – the more it seemed as if The Violets would be forever associated with the past.
Led by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Matt Cahill, Evoletah began life as a guitar driven rock band. Their first two albums were enjoyable to a point, but didn’t really do anything that would make them stand out in a world of other similar bands. In 2013, their ‘We Ache For The Moon’ presented something of a rebirth, with the band exploring jazz, rock and pop in a fusion that sounded almost cinematic. It had almost nothing to connect it to anything that’d come before, but it was superb and found a place as one of the year’s best albums. It was, and remains, a record that showcased a lot of musical talent, a broad musical imagination and a willingness to cut the strings of expectation. By doing what came naturally rather than trying to craft a broadly appealing alt-rock hit, the Australian band created an underground masterpiece.
In 2015, singer songwriter Matt Cahill took a break from his main band Evoletah to experiment with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Muecke and create something that would be so different from everything he’d recorded before. There’s no point in having side projects if they end up being too similar to your regular band, of course, but with The Quiet Room’s ‘All The Frozen Horses’, it’s unlikely that many Evoletah fans expected anything close to the sounds that materialised. Instead of atmospheric, guitar driven rock, The Quiet Room were all about keyboards, space and a cold spookiness.