Music Review: Everclear – In A Different Light

This image just inspires me

This image is just... inspirational!

So one day after Everclear broke up, Art Alexakis woke up and decided he wanted to be a serious musician. Apparently he decided that no one would pay attention unless it was released under the moniker of “Everclear”. So Art assembled a completely new band of musicians, no longer a trio, dubbed it “Everclear” and released a CD in 2006. Now I’m not sure how anyone else recieved that album, but gone were the hooks and the rediculous over-production, and in it’s place were slow burning rock songs where Art continued to ramble about shitty relationships, how evil women are, and how perfect his daughter is. I’m not sure if you can tell by my unfair simplification of that album, but I didn’t enjoy it. I never listened to Everclear for serious, moving, ambitious pieces of art (no pun intended). I’ve always listened for the simple mindless pleasure you get from a great pop song.

Now it’s 2009 and apparently this incarnation of Everclear is still around and they’ve released a re-imagining of classic Everclear songs performed by the new formation. You see, now you can hear these songs “in a different light”… be still my heart. I will say that this is a first for me. I guess I’m finally getting to an age where my favorite bands from my youth are trying to shamelessly cash in on their past success. Hooray!

To start things off, I will state that nothing has actually changed with the songs. They are merely being recorded by this new five piece band with a toned down Art Alexakis on vocals. Gone are the epic endings to every song where he layers over himself 20 times, gone are the big scratchy shouts he lets out in those very climaxes. The production has been stripped away and many of the rhythm guitar parts were replaced with an acoustic, to show these songs as they really are.  One of the things that’s important to know about Everclear songs, is that under all the production there really aren’t any actual songs. I mean, does anyone want to hear a stripped down version of “AM Radio”? Fortunately, that song did not get this special treatment and what you do get is a really solid collection of the big Everclear hits off of each album (with the exception of the hitless slow motion daydream) and 2 brand new songs.

Much to my surprise the new renditons of these songs hold up REALLY well. Unlike their original counterparts, you can actually imagine the group of guys sitting around playing these songs together; which gives a more personable and intimate feeling to all the songs. The biggest standout addition to the songs is the use of backup vocals from the new band members. The harmonies are absolutely beautiful and lend a little more respect to these basic little pop songs. Now not everything is hunky dory with these versions. As I had mentioned earlier, these songs are really toned down. The big epic endings are nowhere near as epic as they used to be. With some of these songs, it was those endings that really sold them. Now these new versions aren’t likely to replace the originals as your new favorite Everclear songs, nor are they likely to convince Everclear haters that there is some merit to their music; but fans of the originals would be remiss to pass up an opportunity to hear the songs in this new form.

Maybe it's not a different light, just a dimmer one...

Maybe it's not a different light, just a dimmer one...

Also interwoven into the disc are two new tracks. Both of these songs are in a similar feel as the remakes with their tone; however, interestingly enough, the production is ramped up a little more. They bring back more of Art’s patented ending of constantly layering over himself. What I am happy to say is I actually enjoy both of these songs. “At the end of the day” being the standout track; a piano driven song with some neat gospel-like backup vocals.

Now it’s very easy to see this album as a cheap cash in (it most likely is), but it would be a shame to pass up what this album really offers you: a chance to relive and relove some of your favorite Everclear songs and dare I say, maybe even let them win back a little respect.  For the first time in several years, I find myself actually interested in what Everclear might do next.

Rating: 7/10

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~ by axknel on October 15, 2009.

One Response to “Music Review: Everclear – In A Different Light”

  1. Yeah, the new album really rocks!
    I liked your review but to say that everclear don’t have any songs is ridiculous. The main thing for me has always been the amazing lyrics he writes – c’mon wonderful and father of mine are two songs about missing dads and family break up that will never be topped. And Santa Monica and Summerland perfectly encapsulate the desire to escape when your life hits the shit fan. I think this new album shows just how good those songs are as they don’t need the production and power chords to sell them.

    But, yeah, i’m now interested in them again – this album shows that everclear are back and could do something new and possibly great. Hopefully.

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