Spun: Everclear

By Kevin de Vlaming

Anyone who listened to music or watched MuchMusic in the 1990s likely remembers Everclear. The Portland-based rock group rose to prominence thanks to fun, energetic songs like their 1995 smash-hit “Santa Monica.” The years since haven’t been quite so kind to the band, which has seen several original members replaced by new people. The latest Everclear release, The Vegas Years, takes the listener on a trip through the group’s history.

The most peculiar aspect of The Vegas Years is the composition. Comprised of a series of concert-only offerings, covers and B-sides, the album serves almost as a retrospective of when the group was popular. A lot of the songs chosen for the album–Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” and the theme songs for Speed Racer and Land of the Lost–just sound really strange performed by Everclear. Not that the songs are bad, they’re likely refugees from past performances, but they seem strange presented in a standalone manner. That said, the songs that fit into Everclear’s current guitar-driven style work very well–their renditions of “The Boys Are Back in Town” and Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309” are great.

The Vegas Years is a bizarre album to experience. Many of the songs seem out of place and the presentation of the album–dominated by songs written by other people–makes the band seem like a bunch of friends playing Rock Band. It’s not a bad experience on the whole, but it makes you wish that your friends would get back to making their own music rather than screwing around with covers.

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