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Music Review: Everclear – Welcome To The Drama Club

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This may not be the same Everclear you remember from the late '90s and the turn of the century. Former band members moved on to individual projects, so Art Alexakis put together a new group of players and moved from Capitol to an Independent label, Eleven Music, to return to the indie sound the band was once known for. The desired result  was achieved.  Going back to that root sound, Welcome to the Drama Club arrived on store's shelves September 12.

The subject matter is somewhat heavy, you don't have to look any further than the first single, "Hater," about break-ups to see just how heavy; the melodies, however are not all dark. They are reminiscent of songs from the previous album, Slow Motion Daydream, and its single "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom."

It still has a sharp edge; there is nothing pop about "Hater." The riffing guitars and rocking beat back the cut-to-the bone lyrics describing the pain and desolation that come with the end of a relationship. Alexakis has never denied he writes his music from a deep personal place, and the singer-songwriter is familiar with the emotions having lived through three divorces and a recent bankruptcy.

The majority of the album is akin to a bitter pill Alexakis is trying to swallow. "A Shameless Use Of Charm," about a dysfunctional couple, is another grunge rock-styled song with a bit of a blues guitar tossed in.  It's a standout track and a good example of why, though Everclear may stray from the public eye from time to time, they are not forgotten. "Portland Rain" is in the same vein. The moody whine of the lead vocals coupled with the moan of the guitar delivers the depressing plea of the genre, and lyrical message.

One of the few upbeat tracks is "Shine." In contrast to the majority of the album, it has a up-tempo and upbeat sound with hope-filled and warm lyrics. "Glorious" is another of the less-dark songs, even though musically it is deeper and harsher than "Shine," but even when the mood turns lighter the bottom line is the same. The album is an emotional account about relationships — the romantic kind – and most often their failure.

Welcome to the Drama Club is what you expect from Everclear. It stays true to the sound they are known for and obviously comes from a place deep inside singer/songwriter/guitarist Art Alexakis. Die hard Everclear fans will be pleased as will those who enjoy that late '90s grunge sound.

News and information about Everclear can be found at the band's official website. Streaming tracks of the single "Hater" and older singles can be found at their Myspace Profile.

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