In 2003 Everclear released the failure of an album Slow Motion Daydream. Soon after, Craig and Greg left. Then Art got divorced. Then he went bankrupt. Now his wife is suing him.
Welcome To The Drama Club
The story of Everclear starts off with Art Alexakis moving to Portland and looking to start a new band. He met up with two kids, Craig Montoya and Scott Cuthbert. Seven albums, three drummers, one bassist, and zero Alexakises later, Everclear has found themselves redefined. You might call them the “new” Everclear due to the fact that only one member of the original band, and only one member of the successful band, is still around, that being Art. But now that the band has added a keyboard player and a rhythm guitarist, the lineup sounds pretty different. The New Everclear can play the Old Everclear’s songs well, but the original songs they’ve made sound quite a bit different.
It’s pretty easy to tell just what exactly this album is about. The lead single Hater
created controversy with a video on the net that insulted people who use Jesus as a reason to hate others. But this isn’t the real message of the song. The real message is all about breakup. Everclear does what they usually do here, a song that starts out poppy but soon turns into hard rock. Under The Western Stars
is pretty much a song about the same type of stuff. Art sings about a lover who he had great times with that is now leaving him. Keyboards are used heavily in this song, thanks to Josh Crawley. Everclear has always made a few country-rock tunes on each album. This is a fine example.
is another above decent song. It has more twangy guitars, so you might think that Everclear is moving into the swing of country-rock even more. This song is about how Art is happy with where he is, and regrets nothing. During the next song, Shine
, you may start to get tired of the keyboard playing. It gets a little excessive here. The chorus is an attempt at catchiness, but comes off as a lame attempt. You can start to tell that one half of the song is Art-like, but the other half is dominated by the other four guys, who play a different brand of rock.
Obviously the main instrument in all of this band’s old songs is the guitar. During The Drama King
, the guitar becomes the dominating instrument again. Both guitarists play very well here. This song is about regret, and realizing that your life is messed up. It deals with most of this album’s subject. “I am losing the fight because I hate my life.” The following song has the same country-rock feel of the New Everclear. The lyrics to Glorious
are better. “I was asleep while I was living the dream.” Art has written another song with a simple structure with a few whoa’s and yeah’s mixed in.
A Taste Of Hell
has the band trying to recreate the songs from the angrier side of Everclear, like Now That It’s Over or Father Of Mine. The snare drum is replaced with some type of synth noise. Overproduction killed some songs on this album, and this is an example. Despite the lyrics being angry, the song is too silly and poppy sounding to be taken seriously.
Still, there are a few pretty good songs on this album. Portland Rain
is dark and sad sounding. The lyrics are about being depressed about how everything in your world is changing, but you should stay hopeful. But that is the same way about this album; everything is changing and I’m staying hopeful that it will be just the way it was before. This song actually has a good guitar solo, and some decent keyboard playing. A Shameless Use Of Charm
is a story of two messed up individuals (Art and his ex?) who fell in love and made a life’s worth of struggles. Instead of playing organ-like keyboards here, we have Josh playing a more electric piano type. That’s a plus. The song is pretty catchy, despite a lack of a good chorus.
The ending of the album is a lot better. Clean
has Art playing his old style of guitar. The song is about Art telling his ex that she has it better than him; that his life sucks and she does nothing but gets everything now that they’re divorced. Now that he’s written this album about his second wife, he might be regretting the two albums he made about his first, who he has now come to good terms with. Broken
(surprise) deals with the same subject matter, regret. “Love is all you need to fix what’s broken.” Depressing, but hopeful, this song is a standout track. This isn’t a typical Everclear song, but then again, this isn’t a typical Everclear album. Your Arizona Room
is a great way to end the album. The keyboards blend in instead of sticking out, while the guitar plays very good riffs. After this, I kind of just want to puke. The same girl who sang the intro to A Taste Of Hell sings the intro to this hidden track. The girl sounds like she’s seven years old and doesn’t know how to sing at all. After the lengthiness of that, Everclear starts to play. This marks the third time they’ve made a bonus track. The two before this were pretty good, and this one isn’t terrible either. It has more of a shuffle feel to it, and uses heavier guitars. The lyrics sound like the band is trying to make another song like Santa Monica, but it isn’t half bad.
This album leaves me sobbing and wishing that Craig and Greg would come back. They contributed quite a bit; backing vocals, and basically just a signature sound. The fact that they were going to have another guitarist made me happy to know that Art could focus more on singing. I was also happy to hear that they had a keyboardist. But now it seems like a mistake. The keyboards swallow some of these songs whole, and are played at during songs in which they are very unnecessary. I also just don’t like Josh Crawley’s style of playing them. The is a way different band, so don’t expect anything remotely close to So Much For The Afterglow, or any Everclear album. It is quite a shame that a band who made such great music now is making totally different stuff under the same name. If this album had been by Art Alexakis as a solo album, I would be much happier and would seem to enjoy it more. But in trying to forget about the band’s past music, this album deserves a 2.8/5, which rounds up to a 3.