Alternative rockers Everclear first popped up on my radar with the 1995 release of excellent sophomore platter “Sparkle and Fade” and my appreciation for the Art Alexakis-fronted outfit was cemented a couple years later when they dropped the remarkable “So Much for the Afterglow,” the best album of their lengthy career.
Since then, Everclear have continued to plug away, churning out a mixed bag of albums every few years. Latest studio effort “Black Is the New Black,” their ninth, is the follow-up to 2012 “comeback” album “Invisible Stars” and represents the band’s best work this millennium.
“This is a very honest recording,” Alexakis explains. “No gimmicks. Not many bells and whistles. All the riffs on this record are things that really just resonated with me and the band, musically and lyrically, from the get-go.”
Though Alexakis is the lone original member still in the band, his fingerprints have always been all over Everclear’s work. That’s still the case here, which is why the tunes on “Black Is the New Black” sound so familiar. Highlights of the 11-track, 40-minute slab include “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart,” personal favorite “Complacent,” “You,” “Anything Is Better Than This” and “Pretty Bomb.” After 20-plus years, Alexakis and Everclear still have some gas left in the tank. (Jeffrey Sisk)