Art Alexakis, Sun Songs - album review
Everclear frontman Art Alexakis has gone solo.
There's many reasons band members do so, and Art's fall squarely in the category of aural ideas that just don't fit the Everclear picture.
There has been great success stories over the years - we're looking at Chris Cornell's Temple of the Dog here.
And Art himself says: "It’s not about making another Everclear record; it’s about doing something that’s just me.”
And this takes on an even more poignant status when it comes to the fact Art earlier this year revealed he is undergoing a battle with multiple sclerosis.
With the support of his wife Vanessa, Art is taking this on full-throttle and so you can understand his sudden desire to explore avenues he may well have shied away from previously.
This is as full-on a singer-songwriter acoustic guitar-fest as you could design in a specialised singer-songwriter acoustic guitar-fest design programme.
Art and his guitar take you to previously unheard personal spaces which sound different without the usual Everclear backing.
There's percussion stomps and uplifting fist-in-the-air attitude in The Hot Water Test. There's Eels-esque danger warnings in the deep White People Scare Me. There's also bass-heavy atmospherics in A Seat At The Table and country musings in House With A Pool.
To say the soundscapes here are varied is an understatement.
Art's vocals sound much like Eels' Mark Oliver 'E' Everett throughout, actually. That almost lazy drawl that wraps itself around the words it is emitting is great to listen to - think also of Dinosaur Pile-Up's Matt Bigland.
The highlights include the almost funky White People Scare Me, with the distorted vocals to begin with making it a sort of dystopian anthem.
The slowly building California Blood is pleasantly assertive in its delivery as we climb and climb before big-hitting a capella percussion.
The emotive acoustics come to a real fore in Line In The Sand with its pedestrian pace and meandering sound. It's a lazy Sunday tune of self-awareness.
And the off-kilter The Hot Water Test also provides some of the album's most interesting sounds.
It's modern Art, not as we have heard him before.
Art Alexakis plays Birmingham's Actress & Bishop on Saturday.