Personnel: Art Alexakis (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Davey French (vocals, guitar); Sean Winchester (vocals, keyboards, drums, percussion); Josh Crawley (vocals, keyboards); Freddy Herrera (vocals); Carson Slovak, Grant McFarland (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Carson Slovak; Grant McFarland.
Liner Note Author: Art Alexakis.
Recording information: Think Loud Studios, York, PA (2014); Ultra Sound Studios (2014).
Photographer: Paul Brown .
Invisible Stars was the comeback, the record where Everclear returned to action, but its 2015 sequel, Black Is the New Black, is where Art Alexakis' reconstituted band settles into a new groove. As the dad joke of the title suggests, the new groove is an old groove, a revival of the gnarliest, toughest parts of the group's '90s heyday, and that doesn't just apply to the sound, either. Alexakis litters Black Is the New Black with allusions to monsters, abuse, broken dreams, and other assorted nastiness. It's enough ugliness to sometimes seem like shtick, but Alexakis dodges this pitfall by getting heavier and tighter, sharpening the songs and generally relying on craft over energy. It's a gambit that works: it's defiantly old-fashioned without being stodgy, probably because the tunes click and there's muscle behind the riffs, giving Black Is the New Black both a foundation and a kick. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine