Everclear

So Much for the Afterglow

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    8
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Sparkle and Fade became a surprise hit thanks to "Santa Monica," a gritty, infectious grunge hit that captured Everclear at their best. Like many grunge and post-grunge rockers, however, Everclear's leader, Art Alexakis, felt constrained by his modest success and its implications, deciding to take his band in new experimental directions for their follow-up album, So Much for the Afterglow. As the title suggests -- as well as song titles like "One Hit Wonder," "White Men in Black Suits," and "Everything to Everyone" -- Alexakis is feeling a bit ambivalent about his success, believing that it's only a transient thing. He may be right -- So Much for the Afterglow lacks anything as catchy as "Santa Monica." He attempts to compensate by adding a more elaborate production, complete with Beach Boy harmonies and guest musicians. The result sounds cluttered, not symphonic, and distracts from Everclear's strength as a straight-ahead grunge trio. There are several songs on the album that do showcase the group at their best, but they aren't enough to excuse the confused attempts at progression that make So Much for the Afterglow a muddled affair.

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