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Music Reviews

Everclear

Everclear

Slow Motion Daydream

Capitol

Everclear’s latest disc Slow Motion Daydream (the sixth offering from the Oregon trio) sounds like much of their previous work. With radio hits like “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine” and “AM Radio,” from Sparkle and Fade, So Much For The Afterglow and Songs From An American Movie, respectively, it’s understandable that the band would want to go back to the formula that has brought them moderate mainstream success (e.g. MTV videos and radio airplay). The problem with going back to a tried-and-true formula is that it’s predictable, pedestrian and ultimately boring, especially if that formula wasn’t all that fantastic to begin with.

In the past, singer/songwriter/producer Art Alexakis has used his own trials and tribulations to craft songs about American life. It’s no secret that the forty-year-old has gone through some tough times (growing up a white kid in the projects with a single mom who had no money and struggling with a bad drug problem a few years back), but all of that is in the past and Alexakis apparently leads a well-adjusted life. With Slow Motion Daydream, the band’s motivating force continues his Americana commentary with such songs like the lead single “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” (about an ex-bad girl turned good housewife) and “Blackjack” (a song about scary John Ashcroft), but that commentary, boasted as “emotionally complex” by the press release, is anything but.

To the band’s credit, Everclear attempt to get back to their grunge roots with a noisier, less produced album. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make up for the insincerity that comes off in the songs. Though it’s quite possible that Alexakis truly means his words in “New Blue Champion” (“I can see the light above me / I hear the sound of a brand new day / I am not going to settle for less / And I don’t think things are / ever going to change”), it’s hard to believe such clichéd testaments when they’re superficially sung, devoid of any true emotion.

Slow Motion Daydream is a real treat for Everclear fans since it’s just a continuation of the Everclear sound, even if that sound is contrived and average.

Capitol Records: http://capitolrecords.com/ • Everclear: http://www.everclearonline.com/

Categories
Music Reviews

The Sights

The Sights

Got What We Want

Fall of Rome

The Sights are a foursome of twenty-something guys from Detroit. But just because they’re from the Motor City, don’t assume they sound anything like The White Stripes, because, let me tell you, they don’t. While the Stripes pay homage to their old blues influences (e.g. Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Robert Johnson), and, as of late, have come off as pretentious, the Sights are full of nothing but humble fun. Their sophomore album, Got What We Want, is a collection of 11 songs, awash with the pop sensibilities of the ’60s, and a bit of blues and psychedelia thrown in for good measure.

Due to the famously foam-at-the-mouth British rags, the Sights are big in the UK but have yet to break at home in the States. After their debut album, Are You Green?, was released in 1999, the trio transformed into a four-piece and became one of the most whispered about bands in Detroit. With Got What We Want, the Sights have got the goodtimey-rock sound down, and when you listen to the record, you can’t help but feel a little bit happier than before. It’s an album full of innocence, taking you back to a more fortunate time when people drank soda at the local diner.

Lead single “Don’t Want You Back” is chock full of Beach Boys harmonies, and the hand-clapping “It Would Be Nice (To Have You Around)” must be a helluva catchy tune live. “Sorry Revisited” is an ode to space rock, while album-closer “Nobody,” with its pulsing bass and soulful vocals, completely breaks away from the sound of the other tracks. Though most of Got What We Want‘s lyrics are not particularly original and the song subjects are pretty cliché, the Sights have managed to put out a record that’s thoroughly enjoyable.

The Sights: http://www.thatsightsband.com/