Released in May 1986 on SST Records and Blast First! in the UK, EVOL was the third studio album by Sonic Youth and showed the first signs of the band transforming their No Wave past into a greater alt-rock sensibility. 

 

“EVOL … mark[s] the true departure point of Sonic Youth’s musical evolution,” noted Pitchfork, “In measured increments, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo … bring form to the formless, tune to the tuneless, and with the help of Steve Shelley’s drums…, [impose] melody and composition on their trademark dissonance.” "If Daydream Nation is Sonic Youth’s opus, EVOL was crucial research. There’s a directness that makes everything feel close. It is pure tension with little release. The entire record is a shadow."

 

Stereogum likewise praised the album as one, “full of suspense…, the cornerstone [of] the Sonic Youth sound…, ground zero for the combination of chiming guitars and atonal skronk… muggy delirium…. the virile ‘Tom Violence’ soun