Friday, September 11, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 157 - Everclear - So Much for the Afterglow

By: March

Album - So Much for the Afterglow
Artist - Everclear
Key Players - Greg Eklund - drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards, slide whistle. Craig Montoya - bass, vocals, keyboards, mandolin. Art Alexakis - lead vocals, guitar, steel guitar, keyboards, banjo, mandolin.
Produced By - A.P. Alexakis

Release Date - October 7, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I saw a commercial for Behind the Music and I recall them being on an episode. I was never all that big in to this band honestly, but the cd did get a fair number of spins a few years back. Its been a long time.

Overview - Portland Oregon based band Everclear hit pay dirt on this, there third record. It was not an easy task as the band was drawing comparisons to the grunge bands of the time. The record initially sold modestly, then by the third single the album took off. It was no easy feat as a tour in Australia or the album nearly broke up the band. The band would release a few more records and find even more success, before struggling with labels and an a wavering audience.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The title track "So Much for the Afterglow" opens the record with harmonies you would not expect from a "rock band". The three share "oohs and ahhs" much like a Beach Boys tribute before the guitar comes in and its a far cry from those first 40+ seconds. The guitar is buzzy and the bass chugs over with the drums clacking off in quick time. Its a fast paced album opener that will wake the listener up. Alexakis gives a good quick guitar solo and the band breaks down with just a drum interlude and the band puts what is almost a false ending out there before repeating the chorus for the songs fade out. One of the big singles from the record "Everything to Everyone" is next. A lone guitar loops on what sounds like a police siren before the bass comes up. The album version has a more punchy bass line than the radio version for some reason. The bass high up in the mix on the opening verses and is punchy, but melodic. The guitar is never flashy and the drums keep on somewhat of an even keel. The lyrics are fun and easy to sing along to. Easy to hear why this was a single. "Ataraxia (Media Intro)" is just a 34 second interlude before "Normal Like You" begins. Another crunchy guitar opening. The bass once more comes right along with it. The drums keep with the simple back beat and the band is in fine vocal form. For the second verse the bass plays off with some sort of toy piano before the whole band comes in. The band has a "full sound" for sure. Another single "I Will Buy You a New Life" is next. This track is a little more laid back. For the verses the guitar keeps just short chords as the bass and drums add their parts. It gets a little more urgent at the chorus, but its never gets too heavy. The percussive instruments, such as tambourine are more in play as well. Continuing with the trend, another radio single "Father of Mine" begins. Alexakis sings right from the start only broken with a few guitar riffs on delay. As the song builds to the chorus there is more a full band approach as they all get involved in singing and the track opens up more. For a song that is a little more laid back at the outset it gets to be a strong rocking track. Alexakis gives a short solo, but Montoya holds it all in place. Eklunds drumming has never been flashy but he hits them hard. A fun, percussion based intro starts off "One Hit Wonder". Its a toe tapping opening before the band comes in along and Alexakis has some gruff to his voice. The guitar is distorted just that right amount and the rhythm section is complimented with a horn section after the second verse. This is a true gem on the record. "El Distorto de Melodica" is an instrumental track that is harder sounding than one may expect. Personally the punch to the bass is the best part. "Amphetamine" opens with some compressed guitars but a second guitar comes over and it launches in to a very punk rock feeling 3 chord, power riff based song. It is performed at a torrid clip both musically and lyrically but in the end it changes directions and is actually sort of mellow, at least for Everclear. The drums click off "White Men in Black Suits" and the back beat is a simple 4/4 time. Alexakis sings over a choppy simple guitar line. The song gets a little more full come the second verse but it never really opens up like you'd come to expect. Two guitars play off one another as the catchy "Sunflowers" begins. The tempo is fun on this track as well, and its a great pop/rock song. In a major change of pace a banjo opens "Why I Don't Believe in God" and remains a central instrument on the track. It still has an Everclear feel, but imagine more a front porch sort of feel. The record ends with the longest track "Like a California King / Hating You for Christmas" which is just over 8 minutes long. Opens with interplay off guitars as the band begins to come up with it. The main song ends and there is 3+ minutes of silence before the Christmas tune comes up. Its a slow builder but will bring a smile to the old stale Christmas "carols".

Where are they now? - Alexakis has kept busy, and is the lone original member of Everclear. Montoya and Eklund both left the band 2003 to pursue other interests. Eklund is currently the lead guitarist and a co-vocalist of The Oohlas and Montoya is the lead singer in the band Tri-Polar

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I only ever saw the band live one time. It was December 2, 1997 as part of the WBCN Xmas Rave. Also on the bill was Ben Folds Five (FDF looks at Whatever and Ever Amen here) and Catherine Wheel. (FDF looks at "Chrome"). I don't recall a lot of their set, but the audience was ravenous for them. I must have seen them another time on the festival circuit, but I don't see them on my list anywhere.

FDF Overall Take - Honestly this was better than I recalled, but there was a time, and even in re-listening, that the radio singles just don't do a lot for me. I think they were beaten in to the ground on alt/rock radio stations. Some of the other tunes are quite strong. Most people would probably make due with a best of collection.

Everclear official site as well as myspace.
Tri-Polar on myspace. The Oohlas page here and a personal myspace page for Greg.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**the mp3's have been taken down**
So Much for the Afterglow
One Hit Wonder
Father of Mine

All the tracks taken from "So Much for the Afterglow" that you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Nice one! Wife and I used to crank this album REPEATEDLY when we were first dating - it's really strong from start to finish. "Normal Like You" is my favorite track.

I saw them touring for this album in a small club and they were great live, too.

Anyone who likes this album should get "Sparkle and Fade" if they don't already have it. The two albums that they put out after "So much for the Afterglow" didn't do anything for me, though, so I stopped paying attention.


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