Evol is the third studio album from Sonic Youth, originally released in 1986 on SST Records. The album is notable for being the first with new drummer Steve Shelley, replacing Bob Bert, and foreshowing signs of the band transitioning away from their noise-rock past and toward a greater rock sensibility. The record marks the second album for the band in which it had worked with New York singer/performance artist Lydia Lunch. Lunch had shared vocal duties on Bad Moon Rising's 'Death Valley '69' and on this record she co-wrote the tune 'Marilyn Moore.' 'Shadow of a Doubt' takes a great part of its lyrical imagery from the Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train: Met a stranger on a train/you'll kill him and I'll kill her/swear it wasn't meant to be. Mike Watt played bass on the track ;In the Kingdom #19.' The band encouraged him to play it shortly after the fellow band member D. Boon of Minutemen died in a car crash. Coincidentally, the song is also about a car crash. On the vinyl format of the album, the time length for 'Expressway to Yr. Skull' was indicated by the symbol for infinity; the final moment of the song featured a locked groove, making it theoretically endless.
New York City's Lower East Side has always attracted bohemian freaks looking to shock the world, but with EVOL (Love spelled backwards)--their third album after a live tape and several EPs--Sonic Youth finally figured a way to make their skronk count. Combining alternate guitar tunings with nearly linear songwriting, SY proved they could harness their energy into a combustible engine. The multititled closer, "Expressway to Yr. Skull" (or "Madonna, Sean, and Me"), is pure apocalyptic beauty, while "Shadow of a Doubt" succeeds by being more subdued and suggestive. --Rob O'Connor