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Music Reviews

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Fat Possum
Everyday Is a Sunday Evening

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The Blackouts' debut has been a long time coming. After working out the kinks in their sound over a four-year incubation period in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, during which time the band inducted and subsequently parted ways with the requisite number of bassists, the Blackouts have finally emerged with their first proper recording, a ten-song outing that goes by the name Everyday Is a Sunday Evening.

As long as some of us have been waiting, in truth the Blackout's emergence from their cocoon of Pabst Blue Ribbon couldn't have come at a better time. Over the past two years the new-mod explosion of leather clad Ramones babies has boiled over, and what was a fresh new revolution of recycled rock only months ago is starting to get on people's nerves.

Every album has faults, and one of the most ominous on Everyday Is a Sunday Evening is the surprisingly poor recording. The blistering, white-hot avalanche of sound that makes The Blackouts' live shows so downright spiritual has been compressed in the studio translation. Although it does clear up cacophony enough to let the melodies bleed through, a song like "One More Time" loses a lot of its immediacy without the sheer weight of the volume.

Aside from the particulars of the actual recording, the album is pretty solid all around because the songs work. Just feel "My Lines" with it's surgically sloppy guitar, slicing like a razor blade tied to the end of a lasso, and the following "Walk Away," a swanky, ambling number that butts vocal harmonies alongside Steve Ucherek's throaty, sneering vocals. It's as close as you'll find to a slow song on Everyday Is a Sunday Evening, but it doesn't come at the expense of the brazen hostility that flavors the album.

The sound that the Blackouts have is familiar, but it can't be pigeon-holed. There are obvious influences all over the place - from surf-rock to The Kinks and The Byrds - and there are easy, cop-out comparisons that can be made to bands like Mudhoney, the Strokes and the Mooney Suzuki, but there is also a rebellious country-tinge to Everyday Is a Sunday Evening in the spirit of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash that none of those bands have. A song like "Feelin' Alive" is closer to Tom Petty than it is to the Clash, and their demeanor (especially evident in their live shows) has a recklessness about it that stings like being whipped in the ass with a beer-soaked bar towel. Throw in some Dick Dale-inspired epicery like "The Ostrich" and the whole thing boils over into a swirling, snarling, howling dervish of Rickenbacker noise and a propelling rhythm section - check the mod/stoner magnificence of "Whenever I Go Home" for a full understanding.

The Blackouts' debut has been a long time coming, but Everyday Is a Sunday Evening makes a strong case for the wait being worth it. If you're not afraid of cracking open some plaster and rattling some cupboards, pick this album up and give your speakers all they can handle.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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