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Black Is The New Black


Art Alexakis – lead vocals, guitar

Davey French – Guitar, vocals

Freddy Herrera – Bass, vocals

Josh Crawley – Keyboards, vocals

Sean Winchester – Drums, percussion, vocals


            Everclear began back in 1992. Yes, you read right, 1992. Those were the grassroots to what is now the 5 piece band. Alexakis moved to Portland in 1992 and placed an ad in a local music weekly. Two responses came from the ad and ended in two releases in 1993. 1994 they signed with Capital Records, but before that they parted ways with their drummer and brought in another. In 1995 they released their major label debut Sparkle and Fade. Their next effort was released in 1997 after hitting the studio several times. So Much for the Afterglow did decent, but their Australian tour didn’t go so well. After that debacle the guys hit the stage over here and finally released their third single. The track absolutely exploded and mainstream success followed. The next effort would be released in 2000 as an Everclear record after it started as a solo effort. The solo thing didn’t pan out the way Alexakis wanted it to, so he and the band reworked it into the album with the most successful single to date, “Wonderful.” A second release that year for Songs from an American Movie Vol. Two confused nearly everyone in the masses. The second album was released weeks after the second single from Vol. One. Both albums eventually stalled out. 2003 seen the band’s sixth album, Slow Motion Daydream released in March. However, the album stalled out once again and after the tour several of the members decided it was time to move on. The band also ended its relationship with Capital Records. In 2006 the new line-up released Welcome to the Drama Club under Eleven Seven Music. 2012 the band released its next album Invisible Stars. With that they album announced the Summerland Tour with has been each year since then, always featuring themselves. With this year’s Summerland Tour the band has another new release Black is the New Black. The album features 11 tracks. “Sugar Noise” kicks the album off with an upbeat track with clear vocals and a nice sound. The vocals are easy to follow and they give up the lyrics in a simple fashion. Those lyrics are fun and can be sang right along with the band. The music provides a great vibe with flying guitars and a solid base from the drums. It’s a fun track that you can listen to often. “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart” offers up some cool sounds during the intro portion of the track. The vocals come strolling in with some swagger. They also add in some backing vocals, but they really don’t do much. They just accent the lead vocals in places. The music sounds pretty good, but there is a lot of repeating in this tune. There are moments that shine, but others even them out. “American Monster” is a track that I feel is going to catch one, because of the lyrics. They are very catchy and will burrow into your brain and stay there. There is also a killer guitar solo that raises the bar just slightly. The vocals are clear and you can sing right along with them. The music is great as well. This is a part waiting to happen. “Complacent” is an okay number, but I feel this one will also get lost in the shuffle. It isn’t that it is a bad track, but there is nothing that makes it stand out. The transitions are clean and it has an okay vibe, but I just wasn’t feeling a top notch track when I heard it, any of the times it came on. “You” offers up a killer vibe and sound. The intro is great and it does what it supposed to do, peak your interest. The track marches along with a slight attitude which makes it more attractive to listeners. It has that way about it that says it will be an awesome live tune. The lyrics are easy to pick up on. I think I feel in love with this tune from the first very listen as I repeated it several times and got hung up on it. “This is Your Death Song” is a short little number with a decent sound, but it kind of blends in with the rest of the album. There is a little merit to the track and I wouldn’t skip it, but I would skip to it either. It has a great mini solo section and I think it might catch on in a live setting. “Simple and Plain” offers up a nice little beat that you will be shaking your head to rather quickly. The vocals are clear and fun as they spout off with a cool little set of lyrics. I really like the chorus for this track. They introduce some backing vocals to the track in that part and lighten up the entire set of vocals. The music rolls along with a catchy sound. The whole thing comes together quite nicely. It’s another fun little number that I can see exciting a crowd and the guitar solo, nice! “Anything Is Better Than This” wastes no time in getting going. The vocals race through the lyrics for the bulk of the track while the tunes are playing catchup. They do a solid job at this and keep up pretty well. You can hear some of the bass in the track and I really like the beat as well as the vibe of this tune. “Van Gogh Sun” slows the album down some and places some emotion, raw emotion into the lyrics and the performance. The vocals are okay, as they sound like the others before it. They do change them up a little bit in places. The music is also decent, but doesn’t excite you like some of the other tracks on the record. It also repeats a lot towards the end. “Pretty Bomb” sound okay and has a nice beat to it. I can see this tune as a second tier track, one that you don’t skip over, but don’t necessary run to either. Like I said it sound okay with the clear vocals and a nice beat. “Safe” wraps up the album on a long note. The five and a half minute track is a slow tune. It features some repeats lyrics, but also has a nice solo section that works well. It fades out to the end of the track which is a nice touch and it actually takes some time to get going. The track has some unique features, but I just don’t feel it has the balls to do anything. Overall this is a nice release. There are several tracks on this album that are top notch and super catchy. I can see them doing work not only on the radio, but also getting a crowd riled up. The vocals are clear all the way through the album and are easy to follow along with. They deliver solid lyrics for the most part of the release and ones you can grab a hold of and sing with. I really like the tunes too. The keys add depth in many of the tracks as the flavor of them are great. The guitars get to fly around and rip through some sections. The drums also get into the action from time to time. I think this is the first Everclear album we have reviewed and I wish we would have done more.


Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Tracks to Watch:

Sugar Noise, American Monster, You, and Simple and Plain


Track List:

  1. Sugar Noise
  2. The Man Who Broke His Own Heart
  3. American Monster
  4. Complacent
  5. You
  6. This Is Your Death Song
  7. Simple and Plain
  8. Anything Is Better Than This
  9. Van Gogh Sun
  10. Pretty Bomb
  11. Safe


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