As familiar as the sound of a jet engine and as visceral as a ride on a speeding motorcycle, Everclear is heavier, darker and more balls-to-the-wall than ever before. And frontman Art Alexakis has never been happier.
Bombastic, hard-driving, generation-spanning rock n’ roll with instantly memorable, sharp hooks propel Everclear’s new studio album, Black Is The New Black. Muscular but melodic, this is the sound of a band driven and united by singular, intense purpose. At an average of three minutes each, the songs rip forward with palpable swagger, supercharged by a mix of autobiographical exorcism and narrative storytelling, from the gut and throat of Everclear’s singer, guitarist, co-founder and songwriter.
Black Is The New Black is a diverse and timeless sounding collection, without ballads and without nostalgia. This is a heavy guitar record. It’s a throwback to the potent passion and urgent delivery of Everclear’s heralded indie debut (recorded for just $400 back in the day!) and subsequent major label classics, delivered through a modern lens. Across the album, the insistent kick of drummer Sean Winchester, athletic groove of bassist Freddy Herrera, and ridiculously skilled guitar shred of Davey French join forces behind the storm of giant guitar riffs swinging mightily from song to song. A bit of tasteful keyboards from Josh Crawley add atmospheric punch to songs that could crush a tiny dive bar or destroy the cheap seats in the world’s biggest arena with equal force.
Alexakis has been candid about his past. His dad split when he was young. He and his mother lived in housing projects. He lost those closest to him to drugs and suicide and nearly lost himself in both, as well. This isn’t the stuff of VH1’s Behind The Music – this is the man’s life pre-music, a life he’s cracked open and explored in his art. It’s there in the “Heroin Girl,” from the band’s platinum commercial breakthrough, Sparkle and Fade. The double platinum So Much for the Afterglow produced enduring radio staples like “I Will Buy You A New Life” and “Father of Mine,” as ubiquitous on the radio now as then.
A combination of the same classic ‘70s rock that drives Foo Fighters or Queens Of The Stone Age and the melodic punk that inspired Nirvana, Everclear emerged on the pop culture landscape as part of the wave The Pixies and Husker Dü ushered in, a time when abrasive guitars aligned with naked emotional expression to beat back the scourge of vapidity. Everclear shifted the culture alongside bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Toadies and Weezer; all diverse acts who shared a forceful authenticity.