To say this album is eagerly anticipated would be a lie. After releasing two greatest hits albums, a re-recording of their biggest hits and a covers album, I truly thought I would never see another new release from Everclear. Invisible Stars comes out six years after their last full length original release Welcome to the Drama Club. While we are on the subject, it has been nineteen years since Everclear’s initial release World of Noise. Does that make anyone else feel old?
Front man Art Alexakis (and also the only remaining original member) has taken more than his share of criticism for singing about his terrible childhood. Frankly, it would be a welcome respite from his current bitterness. There are some highlights, such as the catchy “Falling in a Good Way” and the current single “Be Careful What You Ask For”. Overall, most of the songs sound disturbingly similar. I was flipping through the songs and it took me several seconds to be able to distinguish one track from another.
“Santa Ana Wind” was a likeable song but it is a pretty blatant rehash of the formula that was used on Songs from an American Movie pt 1. The politics laden “Jackie Robinson” is a forgettable tune.
Overall the album isn’t terrible, but there’s very little to get excited about. The raw passion that carried Everclear, and won over a devoted fan base, is just not there. If you are a steadfast completest like myself, you’ll probably pick it up no matter what I say. If you aren’t one of those few pick up the new single and while you are in iTunes, download “Sex with a Movie Star” and “The New Disease” off of the 2004 release Ten Years Gone. They are arguably the two best Everclear tracks that you’ve never heard.
I hope this is just a step towards Everclear finding what made them popular over a decade ago. I have no doubt that the hardships that the band has endured could inspire them to write the intensely personal music that spoke to so many people. While meshing profoundly depressing lyrics with an upbeat poppy sound isn’t exactly original, they certainly were accomplished at it. This album just doesn’t have the soul their previous original work possessed. I’m not sure if the problem was a poor producer or a mellow sound that doesn’t suit them. Either way, this is a forgettable release from a band that is almost forgotten.