by Cory Kibler
If the word “soundscape” is used to describe music, the appropriate response typically should be, “Uh oh” or “I don’t feel well.” Usually, it’s just a nice way of saying that an album has way too much shit going on, that it’s all over the place.
Everyday/Everynight’s new album etc. is a highly-engaging exception to this rule. Oh yes, it has soundscapes, and it isn’t because one of the members just bought a digital trumpet — it’s because they make gorgeous, shimmering pop music that paints a grim and beautiful scene. The Kansas City band uses the usual rock 'n’ roll recipe (guitar, bass, drums, vocals) to make a monster of a pop record.
The biggest compliment I can give this record is that it has a lot of variety, and the variances never fall flat. You know how when you’re listening to Mos Def’s The New Danger and “Sex, Love & Money” comes on, you’re like “Fuck yeah!” but then the album moves to one of those boring vanity blues-rock songs, and you’re like “What in the!?" Everyday/Everynight is able to jump all over the darn place without ever being out of their element, and that’s something you can’t teach in P.E. class. The first track, “Breathe Deep,” is a gentle melodic song that leaves plenty of space for the notes to sustain. That song leads right into “Body Electric,” which is, for all intents and purposes, a punk rock song. The vocals go from gentle and smooth to frantic and intense, and somehow, both styles are pulled off successfully.
“Lolita” was the standout track, for a few different reasons. Musically, it’s one of the best songs — it’s a meandering 7-minute track that’s drenched in reverb and delay. As is the case with the rest of the record, they never play a note that’s not absolutely necessary. The lyrics to the chorus caught my attention: “You should be ashamed/you’ll go to hell/for what you’ve done.” That, combined with the song title, makes the tune decidedly disturbing in an "Aqualung" sort of way, despite its constant waves of beautiful guitar lines and soaring melodies. The only thing that bites, really, is that the vocalist does the little yelpy vocal thing during the chorus of this song that some vocalists are wont to do, and it’s one of those things (like the fake vibrato) that gets under my skin — it’s a vocal affectation that sounds forced and insincere, and without that moment, the album would be darn near perfect.
Other songs like “Memory #3” continue the hurried punk-rock nightmare theme. It starts off with a fast drum rhythm and subtle guitars, and just fucking explodes into a blown-out, knock-down drag-out rock n’ roll party in the street: “I’m a dead man, I’m a dead man!” the vocalist repeats, making you wonder if he's not actually alive after all.
On the closing song, “You’ve Died In A Dream,” the tone of the record gets downright inspirational. This is the song you listened to the morning after you got your first HJ — it’s blasting in your parents’ Dodge Neon while you’re driving back to your house with the sunrise at your back. What’s that? A roach from the night before in the cup-holder? Don’t mind if I do!
Some may disagree, but I think it’s often harder to make a great pop album than it is to make great other kinds of albums. This isn’t because pop is intrinsically harder to do — it’s that every kind of pop-rock music has just been done to death, so if you can figure out a way to make it new, you’ve done something special. I would not be surprised if Everyday/Everynight were well on their way to international acclaim, and when that happens, I’m going to see if I can borrow some money from them.
Cory Kibler grew up in Ventura, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo., before coming to Nebraska for college and graduate school in 2000. He has slowly transformed into a Nebraskan, which left a mess. He plays music as a solo artist and with The Sleepover, and he has played in the past with such bands as Shacker and Robot Creep Closer. He enjoys creative writing and news writing, and has written for various publications and news outlets. In his private, alone-time, he is a retired professional comedian and pet-enthusiast. He his married and has four small animals living in his home, rent-free. Finally, he helps run netlabel Mr. Furious Records with his friend C. Howie Howard. You can contact him at email@example.com. He misses you. So bad.