|Album Rating: B+|
The opening title track sets the tone for the rest of the record with its somber tone and the lyrical focus on leaving home and starting anew. The acoustic guitars powerfully support main vocalist Dustin Addis' gruff voice as he sings "so it seems that everybody left / splitting town to take the world by the wrist / so I moved out east to find the part of me that died." Shannon Burns' much sweeter vocals accompany Dustin's extremely well, and the perfect mix allows them to be another layer rather than an overpowering distraction.
The next two songs help assert the massive one-two-three punch on the top of the record. "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts" gives a massive opening punch after the calm title track, and turns into one of the more upbeat tracks on an album the leans more towards the midtempo realm. The chorus in "Like A Habit" may seem to be almost too close to Third Eye Blind's "Never Let You Go", but it feels more of a tribute than a thievery in this 90's alternative rock influenced track. The similarity in the melodies actually allows "Like A Habit" to stand out even more, becoming one of the catchiest and most memorable tracks on the record.
While the rest of the album doesn't have a string of songs as strong as the opening section, the best track lies near the end of the record. "Take Me Down" is a rare Shannon centered track, and oh does she take advantage of her leading opportunity. The chorus may be her finest vocal performance to date, and even in its brilliance doesn't even match up to the strength of the bridge. The emotional build up feels like the climax to the record, and its easily one of the finest moments in music this year.
While "Skipping Stones" may not be one of the strongest tracks on the record, it may very well be one of the most definitive for Everybody Left. This guitar solo containing ballad simply expresses the feelings that many midwesterners are feeling. Dustin passionately sings "if you want to go on the run girl / then let's pack up our bags tonight / cause the sooner we live I will be set free / from the curses beset on me." It's almost depressing to see how much he longs to leave his hometown, but that's exactly the point. The passion is forced from the sadness of the situation and fused into the absolutely wondrous album that is Everybody Left.
"It's on the western skyline where we'll start our new life." -"Skipping Stones"
1. Everybody Left
2. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts
3. Like A Habit
5. Sing It Out
6. Skipping Stones
7. Figure It Out
8. Take Me Down
9. Way We Were
10. Last Stand