Art Alexakis

Sun Songs

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Art Alexakis spent the better part of two decades threatening to break away from Everclear so he could make a solo album, so when he finally delivered the solo Sun Songs in 2019, it came as something of a surprise. By that point, Everclear was firmly established as his band, but Sun Songs makes it plain that there is a difference between a band album and an Alexakis solo album. Largely consisting of songs anchored with acoustics -- not to mention tunes playing with themes of sunshine and Western states -- Sun Songs has its share of raucous moments and often dodges introspection, but it does feel scaled down and relatively intimate; it's music made for small rooms, not sheds. Many of Alexakis' signatures are in place, including his sardonic sense of humor, hard-bitten empathy, shambolic rhythms, allusions to old-school SoCal punk, and heavy-handed hooks, but the tone is bittersweet. The album is the sound of a middle-aged rocker taking stock of his life, but Sun Songs isn't reflexively nostalgic. Alexakis flirts with a couple of sounds lying outside of the realms of rock, runs his voice through electronic distortion, and generally seems intent on not recycling his old ideas. His good intentions can sometimes be a little gangly, yet they help Sun Songs feel alive and, more importantly, distinct from an Everclear record.

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