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MUSIC REVIEW (Alternative)
Everclear
Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1

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American $ at Amazon.com
CDN $ at CDPlus.com

Label: Capitol Released: 6/1/2000


A musical joyride through the darkest recesses of singer Art Alexakis' divorce, his parents divorce, his feelings for his daughter, etc. Mostly autobiographical, usually uptempo despite the often downtrodden emotions being expressed. There is quite a variation in tempos and volume levels but a consistently Everclear sound is distinct throughout. Some standout tracks:

Song From An American Movie: banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar back an unveiled tribute to his daughter.
Here We Go Again: Public Enemy samples and a slightly rockified version of "Kiss" by Prince?
AM Radio: longing for the old days (the seventies) in rave-up featuring a sample of "Mister Big Stuff". I expected them to say "Freak Out!" at the end of the swelling "Ooooooohhhhhh..." at the beginning. What's that TV show theme in there? Can't remember but it gave a feeling of deja-vu.
Brown-Eyed Girl: a bombastic cover of this old Van Morrison favourite featuring keyboards (or is it strings) and huge production.
The Honeymoon Song: a nice honeymoon tale sung by drummer Greg Eklund
Now That It's Over: a return to the more familiar Everclear style: pounding drums and bitter lyrics, but with almost Who-like keyboard arpeggios, punctuated by the psychologist: "Congratulations, a compulsive and a fetishist. You will be very happy together."
Thrift Store Chair: a nice acoustic tune with accordion, and more bitterness.
Wonderful: you've probably heard it a dozen times on the radio by now, but it's still a great song. Especially interesting for those of us who grew up with Star Wars and divorced parents, I imagine there are quite a few.

A really good and deceptively simple pop record. Crystal-clear production and amazingly enough it was recorded in Alexakis' basement studio. I can hardly wait for the follow-up, supposedly a more rock record slated for later this year.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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