The Willowz Everyone

[Dim Mak/Downtown; 2009]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Black Lips, Japanther, Jack White

November blows. Just like March, it feels like a placeholder month, reminding us of all the fun you could be having if it weren’t November. Sure, Thanksgiving is nice, but musically, the holiday just reminds me that it’s now socially acceptable to play Christmas music without seeming like a weirdo. Luckily, the Willowz anticipated this inescapable doom and gloom and dropped Everyone, the “Official Song of the Summer” that just missed summer.

Everyone has the jaunty beat of a heat-of-summer album, designed to drag people away from their dripping air conditioners and out into the streets, Sly and the Family Stone-style. Like any worthwhile summer album, it has prepared for two very specific situations: snoozing in a lawn chair, and driving down a palm tree-lined boulevard with the top down. Album standouts “Destruction” and “Repetition” handle the latter, while closers “No Heros” and “Everyone” take care of the slow jams. The high-pitched, nasal vocals walk a fine line between acceptable and annoying, and the persistent optimism in the simple, upbeat guitar riffs might wear on you eventually. But like any summer mega-hit, it’s more about punch than posterity.

Unlike their three previous full-length efforts, Everyone sees The Willowz complete their transformation from just-fucking-around California punks (2004’s Willowz) into a well-oiled, hit-producing machine. Gone are the sloppy reverb echoes and whiny vocals, replaced with heavy but carefully restrained guitars and a short leash on the vocal affectations. Does this obvious forethought detract from their original rough punk sound? Maybe. But like many summer albums, the shift doesn’t matter too much as long as you can still dance to the music.

1. Break Your Back
2. Destruction
3. Repetition
4. I Know
5. Jimmy James
6. Way It Seems
7. Twenty Five
8. You Do
9. No Heros
10. Everyone

Most Read