Rain Dog is one Samuel Evans and Two Words comes from his own desire for variation and the impact of disperate inspirational sources. Whilst Evans apparently never considered himself a conventional songwriter in the form of lyrics, here he attempts to blend more established and traditional elements of songwriting with cutting edge electronic production techniques.
Two Words' narrative comes from the structure and flow of the album rather than the snapshot and scattergun lyrics that pepper its length. Starting with foundational elements that inspire him - Tom Waits, Joni Mitchel, Ella Fitzgerald, old movies - Evans builds entirely new work from these samples.
The album packs distinct tonal shifts against a consistently constructed dubstep styled context. Two Words is modern and urban, yet takes in that which is not. Opener Felicity, featuring Bigson, is theatrical and almost sounds like it belongs in a futuristic take on the classic musical number. Other moments are deeper and tighter - Broken's dub backing providing some heavy legwork for intense soulful vocals, capturing intense R&B that feels heightened as a result of the surrounding contrast.
Highly textured in nature, Rain Dog's music unfurls itself in front of the listener in ways that continue to feel unexpected. Watch Over's laid back vocals and jazzy piano keys unravel in a moment, catching the listener unaware with their unpredictable humanity. Two Words is compact and focused, containing moments of beauty and intrigue. And it's not a bad start to 2014 at all.
Two Words is out now on Project: Mooncircle, available from Amazon.co.uk on MP3 [affiliate link].