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The Montells and EVIL...A Florida Garage Legacy

There’s as much interest in individual state’s garage output as there is for city wide scenes. Examining a state-wide phenomenon, though, becomes a bit more difficult when cities aren’t within five hours of each other. And while your grandparents might find Florida an hospitable place to call home for the last few years of their collective lives, the garage scene down there wasn’t a singular pillar of sound. It had its sundry derivations. But between the Montells and EVIL, there was a bit of similarity. Not too much, though…

Probably, the reason make a connection between these two groups – apart from the fact that Corduroy Records saw fit to toss the two band’s on a single disc – is the fact that each counted the same bass player in its ranks for a bit. That’s a pretty tawdry relationship, but that’s what’s served to tie the two groups together.

Judging by the name each ensemble choose, listeners, before even plopping down some scratch for this disc, should be able to guess which ensemble’s gonna rank as a bit nastier.

Founded as the Montells were in the middle of falling apart, EVIL comes off as a better purveyor of Brit stuff that everyone was working to borrow from extensively at the time. In the group’s cover of “Whatcha Gonna Do,” EVIL works up a pretty heady blossom of feedback during the track’s break. Despite the song being tied to another group’s catalog, EVIL’s still able to craft a work that sounds personal. The group’s singer, John Doyle, seems to be on the way to ruining his throat for future endeavors, but seeing as there weren’t too many songs in EVIL’s future, it probably didn’t matter.

That being said, EVIL possessed the ability to reel in its unhinged prattling on efforts like “I Know I’ll Die.” Moving from sixties’ styled punk to something of a ballad was probably a necessity if a band wanted to play local dances. But even on this softer track, the sentiment expressed isn’t anything short anti-social.

Interspersed with those EVIL tracks are the Montells’ earlier recordings. That latter band doesn’t sound like wimps, but come off a bit more timid when contrasted to what else is included on this split. Even with that, “Don't Bring Me Down” ratchets up the tempo. And even if it’s not a pre-punker classic, it does the job. Just like everything else on here, the effort points to the future without ever exploding the bounds of what was then currently acceptable.