Wayne Everett

KingsQueens

Track Listings
1) A Million Leaves
2) I Can See Jail
3) Comin' 'Round Again
4) Mor Far
5) World Series of Poker
6) Chalk
7) Lovin' Fools Brigade
8) Changing Your Name
9) Bring Your Ship
10) Lucky Skies
11) Babalou
 

Discography
Kingsqueens
(2003)


 

Release Date: (January 01, 2003)
Label: Northern Records
Producer:


December  Hotel 
Overall Rating:  
++++-

(Changin' Your Name)

Album Reviews

A while back I reported in a review that The Lassie Foundation, one of the best pop bands youíve never heard, had finally decided to call it quits after releasing their best record, The El Dorado LP. Given the distinguished careers of the bandís musicians, itís unsurprising that all of them went on to other projects: drummer Frank Lenz dropped an album of blue-eyed soul with The Hot Stuff, guitarist Eric Campuzano pursued a Flying Saucer Attack direction with his drone project Charity Empressa, and bass player Jason 71 continued The Foundationís Beach Boy fetish through the excellent feedback-drenched pop of Eskimohunter. What did lead vocalist (a drummer by trade) Wayne Everett do? He went on to record a solo album under his own name. And also unsurprisingly, itís great.

Where The Lassie Foundationís albums seemed to scream of summer and beaches through a combination of both lyrical subjects and a hyper-kinetic poppiness that brought to mind images of choppy waves and surfing, Kingsqueens takes on the slightly more laidback feel of the Foundationís last effort, channeling the same subject matter through a slightly more relaxed lens. The sweet, screeching feedback is gone, allowing room for every melody, harmony, and instrument to breathe. The opener, ďA Million Leaves,Ē is as perfect a pop song as youíre likely to hear this year, and it's one of the sweetest-natured love songs Iíve ever heard. Built on double-tracked acoustic guitars and a simple drumbeat, the song gives Wayne Everett a chance to show off his voice, a sweet, relaxed tenor that, in addition to the beautiful lyrics, conveys a sense of peaceful wistfulness that carries through the entire song. By the time the bridge, filled with gentle horns and clarinets, arrives, youíre completely sold on the song (if you werenít already).

ďI Can See JailĒ continues the relaxed vibe using a simple drum machine beat and some palm-muted electric guitars that subtly keep the rhythm of the song until a shimmering organ and faux-strings are added, while ďCominí Round AgainĒ takes out most of the guitar in favor of upbeat piano chords and flute before some funky and relaxed horns hit on the chorus. Unlike some bands that use their horns for extra flash (Beulah, for instance), Everett is simply content to let the horns be part of the song. ďMor FarĒ is perhaps the most rocking track on the album, letting the electric guitars strut a bit by adding some fuzz and using what sounds like a gospel choir (although none is listed in the liner notes) as background vocals.

It would be tempting to describe every single track on this album, as theyíre all so good that itís nearly a crime that this hasnít received wider distribution. Amazing work. Do yourself a favor and pick this up as soon as possible. (By the way, in the time since The Lassie Foundation review was written, the boys have decided to reform and are planning to release both an album and an EP in the near future.)

~Rick

 

If you take a look at his work with The Prayer Chain and The Lassie Foundation, it's fairly simple to chart a progression through Wayne Everett's music. Straightforward angry rock n' roll led the Prayer Chain into tribal rhythms and sonic experimentation, which in turn led to the noise pop of the early Lassie Foundation. That gradually resolved into the purer Brian Wilson-esque pop overtones (fused with just enough experimentation to keep things interesting) of the Foundation's final work.

 

Everett's solo debut finds the former Chain drummer and Foundation vocalist continuing that arc, abandoning most of the experimentation that marked his work with The Lassie Foundation for a pure, classic pop approach. The results are a mixed bag.

That Everett knows his stuff can't be denied. The tones here are sweet and pure, the inclusion of horns and mellotron give things a timeless feel, and the normal batch of stellar Northern support players (Eric Campuzano, Jeff Schroeder, Frank Lenz, Matt Fronke, Julie Martin, etc.) provide a rock solid base for Everett to build on.

However, the danger of doing classic pop is that it's been done many, many times before, hence the "classic". Unless you bring something truly exceptional to the proceedings, you run the risk of making a record that sounds an awful lot like a lot of other records, and that's a problem here.

Everett hasn't made a bad record. On the contrary, he's made a very good one, but it's one that seems overly familiar from the outset. Good stuff, but it just doesn't reach the dizzying heights attained by Everett's own work with The Lassie Foundation.

~Chris Brown

 

 

Wayne Everett (Homepage)

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