Everclear – Invisible Stars

If you love Everclear, you’re going to love this record.

It’s 1995.  “Sparkle and Fade” tunes are in constant rotation on 99x.  “Alternative” is not yet a satellite radio station like Oldies or Classic Rock.  Art Alexakis is a rough, tough, honest and clever singer/songwriter that looks like a mechanic who finally kicked his meth habit.

It’s 2012.  “Invisible Stars” is coming out in a few weeks.   Art Alexakis is a rough, tough, honest and clever singer/songwriter that looks like a mechanic….

You get the point.

Alexakis is 50 now.  He’s wiser and shares his wisdom on “Invisible Stars.” Hard lessons learned the hard way play out on tracks like “Tiger in a Burning Tree” and “I am Better Without You.”  Yet this record isn’t a departure from old-school Everclear.  It’s a return to the harsh and poppy songcraft that made Everclear famous in the early 90’s.  This effort doesn’t discover new territory – it carves deeper into who Art Alexakis was then and is now (with a few synthesizers and voice modulators added).  Alexakis says this record is genuine and he’s proud of it.  He should be.

“Jackie Robinson” is my favorite song.  It’s not the radio single, but listening to it will make you a better person.  “Santa Ana Wind” is a poignant homage to LA where Alexakis has recently returned to live with his fiancée and daughter.  It proves, for a troubled kid who once tried to kill himself by jumping off the Santa Monica pier that he can (happily) go home again.  “Be Careful What You Ask For” is the one that will stick from this collection of new songs, Everclear’s first in six years.  It restates the mission statement (a la’ Sparkle and Fade), “We burn out in the dark.  We are invisible stars.”

Truthfully, for the last decade, Everclear has been invisible to me.  Maybe now they will be stars.