The music industry is a zero sum world. Some bands live on to have long, fruitful careers while others, try as they might, never quite get their due. L.A. rockers Everest seem to be one of those bands that fall on the short end of such imperfect science. Since coming together in 2007, the band has trucked along earnestly, marrying a variety of overlapping genres such as classic rock, stoner rock, alt-country, folk, and psychedelia into a surprisingly coherent musical melting pot. And yet, in spite of the band’s indie-tested pedigree (its lineup boasts former members of bands including Earlimart, Sebadoh, and Folk Implosion), the success of similar bands like Wilco and My Morning Jacket eludes them. They’ve played catch-up a bit in recent years, but it’s hard to listen and not somehow feel that they deserve more.
But if anyone is glum about any perceived injustices facing the band, it’s not the band itself. Ownerless, their fourth full-length, is what by now could fairly be described as an Everest album, and it’s their most assured work to date. The band has spent the last five years finding their angst-y alterna-roots identity, and if nothing else, the album is a logical next step in their maturity as a unit. This is good news for fans of the band’s previous work, namely 2010’s On Approach, which found Everest slipping comfortably into its scruffy rock and roll skin.
“Rapture” is a solid chunk of classic rock-inspired power pop, kind of like a surlier version of Matthew Sweet, while songs like “Never Disappoint” and “Into the Grey”, with their prevalent echo and lush use of space, are punchy pieces of indie pop. Elsewhere, “Raking Me Over the Coals” sounds like a Big Star tune lost in a psychedelic haze. When frontman Russell Pollard muses, “We all have great expectations/ We can’t forget who we are/ Don’t let it drag you down,” it’s the sound of a band at peace with itself. There’s no throwing in the towel or settling for less; rather Ownerless is the work of a band standing on its own two feet, wondrously content in doing its own thing and leaving the expectations of others to sit and gather dust.
Essential Tracks: “Rapture”, “Never Disappoint”, and “Raking Me Over the Coals”