EVERYMEN – Givin’ Up on Free Jazz

Album: Givin' Up on Free Jazz

Artist: Everymen

Label: Ernest Jenning

Release Date: May 20, 2014

Everymen  5-20

Ernest Jennings

BY JOHN SCHACHT

On their second full-length, this nonet come across like a ginned up, Jersey-fied version of X, scorching guitars and boy/girl vocals cast in vintage rock framework, slathered in dirty horns and dyed in communal punk attitude.

The long shadow of Jersey son No. 1 Bruce Springsteen presides, and the band wisely embraces that fact with the same pride they do their oft-mocked home state. The Everymen turn in a rousing rendition of the Boss’ “Ain’t Good Enough for You,” and channel E Street Band guts and glory on many tracks, most notably the raucous “A Girl Named Lou, Part II” and the Spector-esque “Fingers Crossed.” The two-and-a-half-minute blast of “NJHC” – “New Jersey Hard Core” – roll calls Jersey royalty from Meryl Streep to Glenn Danzig, songwriter Mike V’s lyrics insisting the list could’ve gone on much longer before even getting to Springsteen.

Scott Zillitto’s billowing sax does a passable Clarence Clemons throughout, and Mike V and Catherine Herrick trade off songs like Exene Cervenka and John Doe. Herrick really impresses on the X-like “Another Thing To Lose,” though Mike V’s reedier vocals don’t hold up quite as well when the band dials it back and goes acoustic. “All I Need Is You” may work as a mid-LP breather/tempo change, but it’s not much of a song, and the piano ballad “Izzy” deflates the listening experience after the 7-minute blues storm, “A Thousand Miles.”

These are relatively minor scuff marks, though. The lasting impression suggests a blue collar band in it for the joy of rocking asses and playing together – a Jersey blueprint that’s worked before.

DOWNLOAD: “A Girl Named Lou, Part II,” “NJHC,” “Ain’t Good Enough for You”

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