22 October 2019 (released)
23 October 2019
The first solo album from Art Alexakis, seasoned frontman of Everclear, is as heartfelt and powerful as any of his previous compositions but with a touch less overdrive. The result is a beautiful selection of songs giving an honest and unflinching insight into the mind of an incredibly influential and empathic storyteller.
The album is entirely written by Art Alexakis, with him laying down all instruments and vocals on the album. The first track, Sunshine Love Song – unsurprisingly a love song for his current wife – begins with the sound of Art in the studio introducing and counting in the track. It is one man and his guitar, singing a sweet and exposed expression of his innermost emotions.
There are elements of folk, country and even hip-hop inspired spoken word (which works incredibly well) – however the overarching sound is still unmistakably the brush with which Everclear’s masterpieces were painted.
The first single from the album, The Hot Water Test, tells the tale of Art’s recent diagnosis with MS. Something which he has been very open about and shows great courage in not allowing to dampen his outlook on life. A truly inspirational and moving track, setting out the importance of one’s perspective and connection to meaning and love, The Hot Water test has a chorus which will stay with you for days and a strong but casual rhythm which keeps driving the song forward.
It seems to me Art Alexakis has an unmatched ability to write an uplifting and enjoyable track about dark and personal subject matter. Courageously laying himself bare, he manages to avoid being self-indulgent and instead provides an emotive and evocative feeling of shared catharsis with the listener.
The album also touches on some major socio-political topics, with Sing Away written from the perspective of a parent who’s child has committed suicide, raises awareness following recent new stories about online bullying. Orange, includes a poke at Orange county ‘turning blue’ as it changes from being so hardened in its Republican ways and White People Scare Me highlights the further progress needed to address racism.
Other stand-out tracks include, California Blood, Line in the Sand, Sing Away and Arizona Star, which is a song devoted to Art’s daughter.
Sun Songs, as an album, has a continuity and feel which many solo albums tend to lack – Art Alexakis explained in a recent interview with Music News that the album is named Sun Songs as the tracks are designed to evoke an honest and realistic account of life on the sun drenched west coast of America.