Evan Bailey’s songwriting has been a favorite of Tahoe Onstage since the release of Sun Valley Gun Club’s 2018 album “The Water, The Stars.” Since then, Bailey has founded a new band, Oh Lonesome Ana, and worked tirelessly through the pandemic on another full-length album which feels at once like a continuation of and a marked moment of growth.
“Megadeth Tee” sees Bailey and longtime lyrical collaborator Johnny Allen fixate on a number of burdens of introspection — family, God, loss — doing so without the overwhelming melancholy that often accompanies those themes. In fact, throughout the album he seems more focused; the songs are energetic and eager to craft the imagery in which Bailey is comfortable reflecting. The comparisons to David Bazan and Pavement are still apt but within this new band, Bailey’s songwriting bounds forward with a renewed sense of purpose.
Oh Lonesome Ana comprises longtime collaborator Ashley Maiden on bass and backing vocals, Zach Peach on drums, Jacob Bradford on guitar, and occasional contributor Rachael McElhiney on backing vocals. The unit reflects the material beautifully, efficient, tasteful and thoughtful in what it brings to the songs. There is no wasted motion; no sense of directionless. Much of this is due to the hard-hitting, metronomic precision of Peach and the fuzzed-out, purposeful lines of Bradford.
Highlights of the album include “I’ve Got Your Blood,” which boasts an immediately singable hook, showcases Bailey’s dynamic vocals, and features some of his most intriguing narrative-based writing. Perhaps the poppiest offering on the album, “I’m Glad You Got Out (But I Miss You),” most clearly displays the band’s strengths as a straightforward rock and roll band juxtaposed against Bailey’s ruminations on regret. However, the most all-encompassing moment occurs in “Sending Out A Dove”, Bailey sings:
“I heard the ocean’s starting to give up
We took all the fish replaced them with plastic
I heard the voice of God above
‘I promise to destroy everything on the earth in his flood’
So I’m sending out a dove
I’m trying hard to see the rainbow outside my window
Right there in the street
Giving me reason to go out there
The dove keeps coming back to me“
Oh Lonesome Ana’s debut album is a testament to patience, growth and reflection. Things might not yet be better, but with a little direction and a lot of effort, they might be soon. “Megadeth Tee” is available on all streaming platforms now.