Album Review: Everest, Ownerless

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Every decade there seems to be that band that makes you wonder why they didn’t make it big. In the ‘60s it was the Seeds (download “Pushin’ Too Hard” right now and I’ll give you a pass for not knowing who they are), in the ‘70s it was Robin Trower (Bridge of Sighs is an amazing album), in the ‘80s we had the Pixies (though known they never achieved the success they would have had today), the ‘90s had Mudhoney (a pioneer in the Seattle grunge scene) and today we have another new band: Everest.

Everest just released their remarkable third album, Ownerless via ATO Records, and yet they are still touring as an opener to bands like Alberta Cross, who aren’t bad, but it’d be like Jimi Hendrix opening up for The Monkees…oh wait, that happened. The point is Everest is a band that you need to know about now. This album combines elements of Pavement, U2 and a little bit of Led Zeppelin. I’m not saying Everest is the next any of those bands, but these comparisons aren’t made lightly.

One of the things I greatly admire about this band is their willingness to be a little different from song to song. Of course, every song is different, that’s not what I’m talking about. The genesis of most one hit wonders is that they don’t sound enough like the song that hit it big. Dexy’s Midnight Riders sound nothing like they do on “Come on Eileen” at all, same thing with Devo and “Whip it”. Those songs are merely straight enough to catch the public’s attention, but Everest doesn’t try to fit into that mold. They’re not crafting pop songs for the radio and there aren’t two songs that sound alike. There are some long songs that stretch to nearly seven minutes in length and a few that clock in just under three minutes.

They aren’t making the music for the average listener and though you might turn your head the way a dog does when confused I’ll explain why that’s a good thing. The last thing you would ever want out of a band is pandering. A band that makes an album just for its audience is done, finished, kaput. They should hang up their guitars and drumsticks and go on the Journey state fair circuit. You want a band that is going to play the music they like, the music they are passionate about. If you want a reference to exactly what I’m talking about I’ll give you two: U2 and Paul McCartney. U2 was phenomenal in the ‘80s and ‘early ‘90s, then they came out with Pop and that was it. Sure they’ve had a song or two that has made the charts, but fuck the charts, they sold out. They decided to make music for money instead of love. They made their money and weren’t fighting for Ireland anymore. How can you from your palatial estate?

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Paul McCartney isn’t quite as obvious. He was in the Beatles, he was a killer pop star in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and frankly much of his music is sappy, sentimental crap anyways, but instead of releasing the music he loves, the way his fans expect him to, like say Ringo, he made one of those old guy cookie cutter Rod Stewartesque big band cover albums and it sold through the roof. Why? Because the consuming public of the world at large are sheep. If you know the songs you’ll want to hear how the ex-Beatle sings them.

I defy you to say that is better than what this brilliant band formed by Russell Pollard late of Sebadoh, Folk Implosion and Earlimart is doing. You can’t…Everest’s album is remarkable. It combines the elements of all those bands and makes music that will make your loins dance with pleasure. It makes the hair on your back stand on end. I was at the gym listening to the album, thinking about how to put into words how beautiful this album was and I realized that beauty is a different thing for each person. It isn’t beauty in the way that a Brahm’s melody might be or even with one perfect song like a Brubeck or Morrison. This is an album. People don’t make those anymore. They make individual songs for mass media consumption, but Everest has done something I haven’t seen in a long while. They’ve made, from start to finish, an album that they truly love. Isn’t it time that a band receive their due for doing it the right way?

 

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