With Everyone, the Willowz prove that they’re among that rare breed of bands that don’t necessarily need to expand their horizons from album to album. While Talk in Circles was admirably ambitious and Chautauqua reaffirmed the bluesy roots of their garage-rock, neither album was quite as effortlessly charming as the band’s 2004 self-titled debut. The Willowz were still in their teens when they recorded that, and though they were well into their twenties when they made Everyone, it still captures a lot of that youthful spark without seeming like a regression. The fact that the album is ten songs long and 26 minutes strong is a good sign, and the fact that the band doesn’t play too nicely is an even better one. The band leans more on punk and pop than on Chautauqua’s blues on these songs, and they sound radiantly confident on rave-ups like “You Do,” “I Know,” and “Repetition,” which is among the better songs that Jack White never wrote. Indeed, besides the White Stripes, many of the garage-rock revival groups the Willowz counted as contemporaries have disappeared or returned to the underground, and a slightly bittersweet undercurrent runs through Everyone. However, the band makes it work for them on songs like the minor-key rant “Destruction” and “Way it Seems,” a wry track with the kind of reflective bent that the Willowz could only pull off once they were past their teens. Everyone may not be quite as magical as the band’s first couple of albums, but it’s still the best balance of the Willowz’ still-young energy and their growing experience that they’ve offered to date.
by Heather Phares