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Songs From an American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time for a Bad Attitude
Everclear frontman Art Alexakis once summed up his band’s sound as “happy melody with a New Wave whine,” copy pithy enough to suggest that he was finally earning his keep as an A&R man for Capitolor maybe just moonlighting as a music writer in case the rock-star thing didn’t work out. Not to worry. Alexakis is doing just swell in his day job, turning in two solid records in a single year, an early-Ramones-style pace that’s all the more impressive for Alexakis’ status as a card-carrying oldster. For this second set of Songs From an American Movie, the group lays off the “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Those Were the Days” samples of Vol. One: Learning How to Smile and laces the record instead with so much angst and punk-metal wattage that it might as well be called Use Your Confusion Vol. Two. “I will be sitting on top/When it all goes wrong again,” Alexakis chants on the album’s head-banging opener, “When It All Goes Wrong Again.” “We were fading like the bottom of a bad dream” is how he puts it on the equally crunchy “Slide.” But because Alexakis is old enough to know that poetic fatalism will only take you so far, he also throws in some Beatlesesque choruses and plenty of those ringing, Big Country-style guitars that he’s been milking for three albums nownot to mention personal endorsements of professional counseling and a well-reasoned explanation of the parental advisory sticker that appears on the LP’s cover. A savvy and cathartic tour de force, Good Time for a Bad Attitude is strong enough to make you hope the angst-ridden boys in Korn are paying attention. They could use a good male role model. Shannon Zimmerman