Everlife spent most of 2005 and 2006 being the best thing about Disney compilations like Disneymania, Vol. 3 and Girlz Rock. Their self-titled album is their first for Hollywood Records, but technically, it's their second overall, since they released their debut back in 2004 on the Nashville, Tennessee-based imprint Tovah Records -- and it proves that they're more than capable of turning out a set of songs that are just as engaging as their earlier tracks. The fact that Everlife is an all-female band makes them a little more interesting than the pop starlets that Disney usually favors. That's not to say that the group isn't as immaculately crafted as the studio's other artists -- the slick, borderline overwrought production throughout Everlife shows that they are -- but the Ross sisters' sweet harmonies and musical interplay can't be manufactured easily. It probably helps that Everlife was a going concern years before they hooked up with the Mouse House, and that they're family. Youngest sister and lead vocalist Julia Ross' voice is Everlife's secret weapon; sweet, slightly scratchy and with an empathetic twang that adds a bit of country flair to their sound, her singing helps the band be just as convincing on rockers like "Faded" and quirky love songs such as "I Could Get Used to This." The independent spirit Everlife displays on "Daring to Be Different" and "Now or Never" is a refreshing change from most of their Radio Disney peers, even if their sound comes across as a patchwork of Avril Lavigne (especially on "Static," which sounds like it was traced over Lavigne's "Complicated") and Switchfoot, a band the Ross sisters have mentioned as a major influence. Like Switchfoot, Everlife can deliver uplifting messages without seeming preachy, something they do especially well on "Where You Are" and "Look Through My Eyes." However, Everlife's best track is "Find Yourself in You," which was penned by Kelly Clarkson songwriter Mathew Gerrard and shows off the sisters' sweet harmonies, soaring guitars, and empowering spirit at their finest. This is genuine, and genuinely enjoyable, pop music that kids and parents can both appreciate.
by Heather Phares