Everclear

The Vegas Years

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It has been said that the key to a successful cover is making the song sound like your own. By that measure, Everclear are very successful indeed, as every song on The Vegas Years -- a covers collection consisting partially of new cuts and previously released material, much like Poison's Poison'd!, released in 2007 on Capitol, the very same label that put out The Vegas Years -- bears the unmistakable heavy hand of Art Alexakis, who leans on heavy muted eighth-note rhythms through many of these 14 songs. When he's not pumping out these staccato guitar riffs -- he can't even resist them on a cover of Neil Young's "Pocahontas" -- he dresses "Rich Girl" up in "A.M. Radio" pop threads, turning it into something that could have fit into either half of Songs from an American Movie. All this means that if you read a song title here and imagine how Everclear would cover it, you'd be exactly right, as they make "This Land Is Your Land" into a sequel to "I Will Build You a New Life" and turn both Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" and Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls" into lead-footed boogies. Again, according to the yardstick of turning songs into their own, this succeeds -- but whether that makes for enjoyable listening all depends on whether you find Everclear's increasingly stiff and staid post-grunge irresistible or not.

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