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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jackopierce - Everywhere All The Time

Jackopierce – Everywhere All The Time
2012, Jackopierce
When I first heard Jackopierce it was 1995.  The radio was full of the dying vestiges of Grunge and the early roots of what would become known as alternate rock.  And out of nowhere are these two guys with two acoustic guitars, wonderful voices and a sense of vocal harmony that was flawless.  The songwriting had its ups and downs, as with any artist, but Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce always seemed to pull each song off with an unpretentious panache.  The party ended a few years later, but Jackopierce simply would not stay in mothballs.  A series of annual shows turned into an album and then additional tours.  Now in 2012, Jackopierce steps into the limelight again with their latest album, Everywhere All The Time.

Jackopierce kicks things off with "Into Me", a song written by a guy who can't believe his luck in catching the attention of the most beautiful girl in town. Remarkably radio ready for the adult contemporary set, Jackopierce take it to the next level here. “Finally Free” is a smooth, compact, adult-oriented rock and roll love song. There's a solid groove here that makes your feet want to move. “Around Me Now” is highly published AOR balladry that is perhaps a bit too smooth for its own good.  “We Can Work It Out” digs into relationship rock, bordering on cliché with solid if occasionally awkward lyrics full of positive thoughts.

Jackopierce gets back to their roots on “Listen To Me”, a wonderful story song that relies on melody and vocal harmonies to soar. “Alright By Me” moves back into the arena rock tendencies that are the apparent oeuvre of Everywhere All The Time. The chorus is memorable, and the guitar work has a comfortable feel that fits perfectly here, although the metaphors are perhaps a bit out o left field.

The momentum falters a bit for “Change Your Mind” and “Killin Me”. The former built on solid energy but a bit too pro-forma in construction; the latter just too languorous by half.  Once again Jackopierce carries these tunes on force of personality, but as a long time listener these just fall a bit flat.  Fighting for a relationship is the theme of “Let Go Of Me”.  The vocal line is perfectly crafted, an ideal match to the melody.  Jackopierce keeps things simple here, and is rewarded with a moment of musical beauty.  “Lonely” keeps the same vibe in a song of questing for love.  This one feels highly personal, even as Jackopierce paints the concepts of the song in metaphor, simile and harmony.  Everywhere All The Time closes out with a reggae version of “Three Of Us In A Boat”.  While the song itself has life, and indeed is something of a fan favorite, the reggae-style arrangement just falls flat.
Jackopierce are still making greatly music nearly a quarter of a century after they started out.  The songs are generally well-written, and the voices have never been as sweet.  The occasional rough spot here is more than made up for by the musical immersion that surrounds it. Jackopierce continues to make great music.  Everywhere All The Time does provide a bit more musical sound that the songs from back in the day.  This occasionally leads to rough spots, but Jackopierce almost always wins out in the end.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
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