Picks and Pans Review: Songs from An American Movie, Vol. One:
Learning How to Smile
The fourth album from this ever-clever trio plays like the soundtrack to frontman Art Alexakis's L.A. youth in the late '60s and '70s. A throwback to the more melodic pop of that era, Songs is a concept album that takes its inspiration from such musical heroes as Otis Redding (on a string-drenched ballad named for him), Van Morrison (on a faithful cover of "Brown Eyed Girl") and Jean Knight (on "AM Radio," which judiciously uses the guitar riff from her 1971 hit "Mr. Big Stuff"). But for those fans who may think Everclear—Craig Montoya (bass), Greg Eklund (drums) and Alexakis—has lost its alt-rock edge, the band promises Vol. Two: Good-Time for a Bad Attitude later this year.
Bottom Line: Clear-cut pleaser
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