So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol Records)
By: Alex Steininger
If you thought Everclear would fade after their tremendous sparkle with their multi-platinum previous album (Sparkle and Fade), then you have another thing coming to you. This time around though, they decided to expand their sound while still keeping the angst driven beats that drove them to success in the first place. From pop melodies that glue themselves to your brain to hard hitting rock, Everclear is a party favorite.
Beach Boys like vocal harmonies kick off the CD, before being thrusted into overdrive. The drums beat ferociously, obviously the engine of the song, while the bass adds tremendous power to the song. The guitar slams its way through the song, taking everything at a 100mph. But the key to the song is Art Alexakis' vocal power. His vocals portray an aged wisdom, that at first comes off as a voice that has had it with life and is burnt out and fed up with everything, but then strikes you as happy and hopeful. The vocals are what characterize each song. Beautifully rusty, tired yet smooth, they fill each bit of lyrics with real life drama. Their first single, "Everything to Everyone", is a sing-along number, much like "Santa Monica". The strong bass lines make this song what it is, while the lyrics add depth and make it more than a novelty song. The synth-like guitar beeps throughout the song, while the drums nicely keep the beat. The verses are addictive, and will have you singing along in no time, while the chorus is tremendously catchy and gets you right at the beginning, singing and jumping along to every word. Their latest single, "I Will Buy You A New Life", is a catchy ditty that will make you fall in love from the first chord until the last drum beat. The song is depressing, while still managing to hold a hopeful and happy outlook on life. "Here's the money that I owe you/yes so you can pay the bills/I will give you more when I get paid again/I hate those people who love to tell you that money is the root of all that kills/they have never been poor/they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas," is the opening verse. Very poppy, it grabs you from the beginning and makes you want to sing along. Sung in a powerful manner, it makes you feel its anguish, as well as its happiness. The occasional keyboard, courtesy of Rami Jaffee from The Wallflowers, adds a soft touch to the music. It also emphasizes hope, and makes you believe there is a chance that you can go out and "buy a new life." "Father of Mine" is an emotional powerhouse dealing with frontman Art Alexakis' dead beat dad. Even with such a personal topic, Everclear makes you feel and relate to what is being discussed. The hard hitting drums drive right to your heart, while the trash of the guitar screams in your mind. The bass makes your heart beat that much faster, taking over complete control. But the words are what makes this song. "Father of mine/tell me where you have been/yeah, I just closed my eyes and my world disappeared/Father of mine tell me how do you sleep/with the children you abandoned and the wife I saw you beat." These words make you feel Art's childhood frustrations, while digging deep in your soul and relating to experiences you've had in the past with people who make you feel the way Art did in this situation. "El Distorto De Melodica" is a trash-thrash instrumental. No vocals, just industrial influenced rock. This song sounds like nothing else on this album, and with good reason. It's just a bunch of noise. Skip this track, and keep your sanity. "Amphetamine" is about a girl who has had it with her life, and just wants to move to a new place and find herself. Everclear goes back to a punk rock base on this song as they bash and crash all the way through this song. Screaming guitars buzz through the air, while the drummer beats the shit out of the drums like there is no tomorrow. The base steps up the plate, pounding and slamming its way through the song, and pulling everything together with class. Then an orchestra enters and the song goes soft. What a way to end this rock n' roll track. "Like A California King" closes out the CD with some Zeppelin-esqe guitar maneuvers. After hearing the energy on this CD, this is a bad way to end this CD. The song, although catchy in it's pop moments, just doesn't seem like it has the drive of the other tracks. Just start over right before this track, and you should be happy!
Everclear once again earns the title of pure grain angst rock. Named after a powerful alcohol killer, this band deserves the name. I don't even think the drink can sting like this. If you want to have a good time and rock at the same time, pick this CD up! A definite A.
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