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Slow Motion Daydream
     

Slow Motion Daydream

by Everclear
 

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Long before reality TV took root in the public consciousness, Art Alexakis staked out a claim as rock's ultimate survivor, veining wrenching songs with tales of abuse, both self-inflicted and external, and managing to crack the odd wry grin when the cosmos least expected it. Alexakis took a pretty big chance by putting Everclear on a fairly lengthy hiatus that saw him

Overview

Long before reality TV took root in the public consciousness, Art Alexakis staked out a claim as rock's ultimate survivor, veining wrenching songs with tales of abuse, both self-inflicted and external, and managing to crack the odd wry grin when the cosmos least expected it. Alexakis took a pretty big chance by putting Everclear on a fairly lengthy hiatus that saw him pump out a pair of divergent solo discs, but Slow Motion Daydream indicates that the singer left a breadcrumb trail to lead him back to the pop-punk mother lode. The disc's first single, "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom," sets the tone pretty clearly, with Alexakis spinning a pithy tale in crisp detail as insistent guitar riffs propel the emotional action from anger to resignation. There's a fair amount of the singer's patented grumpy old punk attitude -- he takes on the current administration in "Blackjack" -- but sentimentality is more pervasive than on most of Everclear's early work. That's played out in both the lyrical stance -- "New York Times" and "TV Show" are both a little gauzier than you might expect -- as well as in the arrangements, which are dusted with subtle strings and acoustic strumming. Even when moving in slow motion, Everclear packs a punch.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Aging was never going to be an easy task for Everclear. Led by Art Alexakis, a singer/songwriter who was just a little older than the rest of his post-grunge peers, perhaps inevitably led to his tackling subjects outside of the range of the Seven Mary Threes of the world; but that wasn't as much of a problem as the fact that his band was a career band in an era where the music industry and the audience generally ignored career bands. So, after their time in the sun in the mid- '90s, they earned the license to stretch -- resulting in the two-part album, Songs from an American Movie, in 2000 -- but they did it at a time when audiences were fickle, and they lost a big part of their fan base between the two records (Learning How to Smile debuted in the Top Ten that July; that November, its successor, Good Time for a Bad Attitude, peaked at a humiliating 66). The thing is, the band didn't get worse between those two records; if anything, they were more effective than ever in tying their hard rock and ambitious pop leanings together on Learning How to Smile, while Alexakis' songwriting remained sturdy and tuneful. In a different era, say 20 years earlier, they could have sustained a career as a good journeyman rock group, but stakes were higher in the post-alternative world and it was possible for the band to do good work without receiving any credit, while simultaneously stretching themselves too far in an attempt to get noticed thereby hurting the overall record. And that's the problem with Slow Motion Daydream, which consolidates the strengths and weaknesses of Songs from an American Movie on one disc. At its best, the album illustrates that Alexakis is a very good rock songwriter and his songs sound the best with just a little bit of pop gloss. That combination can be irresistible, as it is on the opening two tracks, along with a couple other incidents later in the album (including the "hidden" bonus track; a good song -- one of the best on the record -- but its very presence makes this album seem like a '90s artifact). But for every shining moment, there are missteps, which fall into two categories. First, there's Alexakis' perennial tin ear, resulting in embarrassing stabs at social commentary in "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom," and the misguided "New York Times." More problematic is his commitment to the absurd notion, shared by many of his peers, that sub-Brian Wilson sunshine pop arrangements are the height of "adventurous" rock, resulting in debacles like the bungled baroque strings on "Science Fiction," and similar stumbles like "Chrysanthemum." That there aren't as many flops as there are good songs is something only the dedicated will notice, unfortunately, because journeymen rockers like this aren't paid attention to in 2003, and failed ambitions are more likely to earn ire than note from critics. Which is too bad, because Everclear and Slow Motion Daydream deserve better -- they may not be consistent, but when they deliver, they're still as good as they ever were.
Spin Magazine - Chuck Klosterman
This is a solid, well-constructed testament to the healing power of crankiness. (B)

Product Details

Release Date:
03/11/2003
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0724353827007
catalogNumber:
38270

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Everclear   Primary Artist
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Brian Dembow   Viola
Julie Gigante   Violin
Endre Granat   Violin
Miran Kojian   Violin
David Low   Cello
Rene Mandel   Violin
Robin Olson   Violin
Mark Robertson   Violin
Anatoly Rosinsky   Violin
Bennett Salvay   Conductor
Cecilia Tsan   Cello
John Walz   Cello
Craig Montoya   Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Art Alexakis   Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Rafael Rishik   Violin
Greg Eklund   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Keith Greene   Viola
Julie Coleman   Strings
Phillip Levy   Violin
Franklyn D'Antonio   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola

Technical Credits

Julian Raymond   String Arrangements
Bennett Salvay   String Arrangements
Everclear   Composer
Lars Fox   Producer,Engineer
Larry DuPont   Photo Tinting
Art Alexakis   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Art Conception
Chapman Baehler   Cover Photo
Darren Lewis   Executive Producer
Geoff Walcha   Producer,Engineer
John Dittmar   Booking
Mike Greek   Booking

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