Review : Everclear - Invisible Stars
PopmattersIf you’re clicking on this review, there’s a good chance that you remember Everclear from their ‘90s heyday. They were a fixture on modern rock radio back then with hit singles like “Santa Monica (Watch the World Die)”, “Father of Mine”, “I Will Buy You a New Life”, and “Wonderful.” There’s also a better than even chance that you lost track of them sometime early in the ‘00s, like most of their audience. Singer-songwriter Art Alexakis has kept the Everclear name alive since then, even as the past decade has been a rough one for the band.
After 2003’s Slow Motion Daydream failed to continue the band’s previous success, they were dropped by Capitol Records. Welcome to the Drama Club from 2006 didn’t do all that much for the band on a creative or commercial level. Since then, Alexakis has been musically fumbling around, looking for a way to recapture the old glory. In a Different Light, released in 2009, was a spectacularly ill-conceived album that featured the band re-recording its older tracks in gentler, more “mature” arrangements. In the process, did they leech all the energy and urgency out of those songs? You bet they did. Then the band recorded a handful of their hits yet again (back in their original rockin’ arrangements), along with a bunch of covers, for 2011’s Return to Santa Monica. Now Invisible Stars comes along, and it finds Alexakis going back to basics. Since “quieter and more mature” failed to generate any sort of audience response, he’s swung back in the other direction. The album’s 12 tracks are all new songs (thank heavens for small favors), but they sound exactly like what you’d expect from classic Everclear. These are punchy hard-rock songs with enough pop hooks to be catchy....full text
AllmusicTo say the six years between 2006's Welcome to the Drama Club and 2012's Invisible Stars were tough for Everclear is something of an understatement. Only one of the musicians who appeared on Drama Club remains -- that would be guitarist/singer Art Alexakis, who already was leading a rejiggered lineup in 2006 and now has a completely different crew on Invisible Stars. This is roughly the same group that appeared on Everclear's pair of 2011 releases of re-recorded hits for budget-line Cleopatra, a sure sign a group has skidded into a rough patch, and if they're not explicitly re-recording songs on Invisible Stars, they're certainly eager to evoke memories of the past by reworking hooks from "Everything to Everyone," "I Will Buy You a New Life," and "Wonderful." Of course, Alexakis has never hidden how he works with a limited palette -- he may have expanded sonic horizons on the two-part Songs from an American Movie back in 2000 but he retained allegiance to the same three chords and topics that brought him fame on Sparkle and Fade and So Much for the Afterglow -- so this isn't necessarily a fair criticism to level at this late date. What does count is that the hunger to return to the spotlight results in a looser, livelier record than Welcome to the Drama Club; he's so desperate for somebody to pay attention that his hooks are harder, bolder than before and the band rocks, albeit in the coolly restrained manner of seasoned hired hands. Whether this nostalgia -- so calculated that the prom queen of "Falling in a Good Way" pointedly enters high school in 1995, the year Everclear had their first big hit, "Santa Monica" (and this album's "Santa Ana Wind" certainly brings to mind that tune as well) -- has an audience in 2012 is almost beside the point; after many years in the wilderness, Alexakis has once again found the sound of Everclear on Invisible Stars....full text
ReviewfixKnown for their past big hits like “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine,” Everclear, the alternative outfit from Portland, Oregon, have definitely seen their share of fame since their formation in 1992.
It’s been three years since their last album, “In A Different Light,” but their newest release, “Invisible Stars” proves that they have still got it now as much as they did back then.
Everclear are current Co-Headliners on this year’s Summerland Tour, along with Sugar Ray, Lit, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground.
“Invisible Stars” manages to capture everything that makes Everclear well, Everclear. They pick up right where they left off with their last album, yet still spin a bit of a different sound. It’s very mellow, but it still works.
Everclear’s current lineup includes Art Alexakis (Lead Vocals/Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Dave French (Lead/Rhythm Guitar/Backup Vocals), Josh Crawley (Keyboards/Backup Vocals), Freddy Herrera (Bass Guitar/Backup Vocals) and Sean Winchester (Drums/Percussion).
The key word is “current,” as this is the band’s fourth different full lineup. 50 year-old lead singer Alexakis remains the only original member in the group.
You wouldn’t be able to tell that there have been so many lineup changes, as Alexakis pretty much leads the show and keeps the very essence of the band intact. Despite his age, his voice is still as prominent as it was back then.
The album’s lead single, “Be Careful What You Ask For” is the perfect representation of this album and where the band finds itself today. It’s a keyboard-happy, feel-good rocker, with the catchiness and bold lyricism that showcases Everclear at its best, where no other band can touch them in that category.
There is a great flow to this album as tracks transition pretty flawlessly. Every track at least offers something different.
A couple of high points in the album, like tracks “Falling in a Good Way” and “Aces,” serve a fast-paced tempo peppered with crunchy riffs reminiscent of today’s pop-punk. It’s easy to defer that many bands drew their influences from Everclear with this song....full text
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