Wayne Everett: KingsQueens (Northern Records, 2003)
Wayne Everett (The Lassie Foundation, Cush, The Prayer Chain, Starflyer 59) is a consummate musician: singer, songwriter, drummer, and producer. He tends to wear many hats. Finally, Wayne has presented to us his own songs, which might be described as indie-pop-bliss. This album has the song writing genius akin to Neil Young along with the pop awareness of the Lassie Foundation and Frank Lenz.
The songs range from slow-tempo to medium tempo with a pop sensibility no one can deny. The cast of players on the disc is quite impressive: Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59, Cush), Eric Campuzano (The Prayer Chain, The Lassie Foundation, Charity Empressa, Cush), Dickie Onassis (otherwise known as Richard Swift from Starflyer 59), Levi Nunez, Jeff Schroeder (The Lassie Foundation), Matt Fronke, Greg Riley, Tatiana Simonian, Lori Lenz, and Julie Martin (Bon Voyage).
Most songs hang around the 3-minute mark, creating a perfect pop formula for each cut. Only one song on the disc is over 5 minutes long and that song, “Chalk”, was written during Wayne‘s stint in The Prayer Chain. This “Chalk”, unlike the one found on Prayer Chain‘s Antarctica, is set to a slow tempo, and this prequel to the TPC counterpart represents more closely Wayne‘s original vision of the song. Its Beach Boyesque BGVs and stripped down rock feel gives it a romantic air that only Wayne‘s voice can convey. “A Million Leaves”, the disc’s opener, is a mid-tempo number with a driving back beat and vocals reminiscent of Lassie‘s El Dorado. The subtle acoustic guitar work reminds one of Red House Painters. “The Lov’n Fools Brigade” is a slow-tempo number with sprinkles of Spanish style trumpet, fantastic rock guitar, and soaring vocals. “Babalou”, a track limited to the CD version of this album, is certainly a gem. The song is entirely in French, set in 1988 at a live show in Belgium, and completely done in studio. It is a magnificent farce and yet a grand pop song. Wayne dedicates this album to his “Mor Far”. The song of the same name, “Mor Far”, is a mid-tempo pop song with a mixture of fuzzy organs, jingly tambourines and distinctively bass BVG’s. All in all, the 11 tracks on this disc are pop perfection, leading the listener through love, gambling, dedication to ancestors, and a musician’s need to express himself through music. A must have. RIYL: Red House Painters, The Lassie Foundation, The Shins, Neil Young.