Everclear

Invisible Stars

Written by: IM on 13/02/2013 21:06:07

Everclear, formed in 1992 by vocalist Art Alexakis, are known by many for their radio hits spanning nearly two decades. They got off to a very promising start, being signed by Gary Gersh, who was also responsible for signing Nirvana to DGC Records. The band have been through a somewhat turbulent career, now on their 4th line-up, with Alexakis being the only original member remaining. For a band who many haven’t heard of, you could say they have done rather well; having been featured on soundtracks from 1996 to 2002, such as Romeo and Juliet, Not another Teen Movie, Scream 2 and Loser.

Whilst their style has been described as ‘Cowpunk’ “Invisible Stars” throws all the labels back in the faces of those dishing them out. Cowpunk is an interesting but not very functional description. Apparently this genre constitutes a combination of punk with folk and/or blues, the most notable band in this category being The Cramps. I fail to see how this describes Everclear, a band more likely to appeal to Blink 182 and Green Day fans having a spot of nostalgia. “Invisible Stars” is Everclear’s 8th album to date, following the release of 2006’s “Welcome to the Drama Club,” which received mixed reviews.

Overall, “Invisible Stars” isn’t a terrible album, it isn’t great, but neither is it average. It might have been considered good in 2001 but the fundamental hurdle, which keeps popping up again and again, is the fact it sounds so incredibly dated. With a brilliant album, one listen is enough to tell you how much you’re going to love it, with a really shit album, one listen is enough altogether. However, “Invisible Stars” does improve on acquaintance.

Things start out badly, very badly with “Tiger in a Burning Tree,” an odd clash of Britpop and punk. You certainly can’t fault it for lack of energy; it has, in fact, all the energy of a group of hyperactive teenagers, trapped in a shed. Use of lyrics like high school in tracks such as “Falling in a Good Way,” are somewhat indicative of the target audience, but still, pleasant parallels can be drawn with Blink 182. “Be Careful What You Ask For,” the single release, doesn’t exactly blow me away either. It’s yet another Green Day sound-alike, not very memorable as a single, with banal chanting lyrics. By “Volcano,” the album has mellowed out into more soft alternative rock, with more depth and dimension in the music and lyrics, almost as though it were Billy Joe Armstrong growing up. By “Santa Ana Wind,” the album emits the sort of slightly melancholic pensive depth one might find in the music of Counting Crows, but this in itself still sounds rather dated. It’s as though this album is taking us on a musical journey of style and maturity from 1992 to 2002.

Without doubt, the best track on the album is “The Golden Rule,” I would say with this album, the golden rule would be to just listen to this track through to the end. It improves dramatically in style and ambience, almost as though it has evolved over the decade it stylistically spans in one album.

It’s Everclear’s catchy hooks and melodies which their fans have loved them for, which ironically are now their biggest problem. Everclear’s insistence on spinning this same proverbial wheel time and time again has caused the novelty of these samey hooks and melodies wear off.

Alexakis stated that “Invisible Stars” is a lot more aggressive than anything the band has released in some time, it is also a lot more melodic. This is arguably true, but causes the album to lack identity, as there is far too much of a division between the first and second halves, causing it to feel disjointed. It’s difficult to know where Everclear will progress to next, as they demonstrate such an innate fear of keeping up with the times, from both a musical and lyrical perspective.

A pertinent question may be; have Everclear managed to elevate themselves above being just another throwaway pop band with loud distorted guitars and clever hooks? I think not.

4

Download: The Golden Rule
For The Fans Of: Green Day, Blink 182, Counting Crows
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 11.03.2013
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