Everclear's third album rings with the clamor of clashing images. A sweet, sunny, Beach Boys-style chorale is abruptly swamped by pummeling rock and lines about "the scary things you see from the corner of your eyes." Later, the sound of playground laughter is shattered by an ominous message. "Why'd they have to call my school/tell me my mother had a nervous breakdown?" Art Alexakis sings with raw intensity.
Innocence interrupted is Alexakis' beat, and in this follow-up to Everclear's 1995 breakthrough album, "Sparkle and Fade," the singer-guitarist-songwriter walks it with authority. The battle for equilibrium in the wake of emotional trauma, the search for comfort and connection--Alexakis makes it all vivid through accumulation of detail, and he spits it out with a Lennon-like candor and an unruly, unstoppable energy.