[6 August 2006]
The Everyothers don’t want to kill rock stars, they want to be rock stars, and therein lies the problem.
Not the problem of the thoroughly apolitical band’s presence on the Kill Rock Stars label… while best known for spearheading the riot-grrl movement in the 1990s, KRS has a diverse catalog that ranges from the noisy rumble of Godheadsilo to the garage snarl of the Peechees, so the Everyothers fit in as well as anyone, even without a manifesto of its own.
Not the problem of image, either, although Brooklyn hardly needs another set of guys with beat-up suits and cigarettes in hand, ready to lean against a wall with heads tilted just so, dishing out smart-ass comments through leering lips.
No, the real problem with the Everyothers is that they channel their rock fantasies into overly safe musical capsules. Competency, professionalism, moderation: they’re great qualities in almost any walk of life, but not in garage rock. This turf calls for storming the gates, and on the Pink Sticky Lies EP the Everyothers sound like they’d rather knock first.
Singer Owen McCarthy channels Iggy Pop from his first emission. Fair enough; who doesn’t idolize the legendary Mr. Osterberg? David Bowie lived vicariously through him in the ‘70s, lo-fi troudabour F.M. Cornog of East River Pipe pondered life as “Axl or Iggy”, and even R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe offered to be Iggy “if that’s what it takes” with feigned reluctance on Monster (his band already having covered “The Passenger”). But while McCarthy brings winking reference to that “motor city charm” on opening track “Too Far”, he utterly neglects the element of danger. “I wanna take you too far,” he claims in the chorus, unpersuasively. Never once do the Everyothers threaten to careen out of control; by the third bar of the song, there is no doubt Pink Sticky Lies will not end in an “L.A. Blues” meltdown.
Without that possibility, that wild-eyed glimmer of uncertainty, the whole affair feels orchestrated and perfunctory. The Everyothers approach hedonism and debauchery as hobbies, not as an all-encompassing ethos, and thus miss the point of emulating Iggy rather entirely.
Of course, it’s more than just the head Stooge on display: traces can be heard here, without digging too far, of everyone from the New York Dolls to the Strokes. For that matter, McCarthy’s reminder, “I need to let you know, I’m on your side,” on “Dive With You”, recalls Michael Hutchence intoning similar sweet nothings on INXS’s “Need You Tonight”, while the guitar riff that commences “Something Wrong” sounds an awful lot like the Foo Fighters’ “I"ll Stick Around”. There’s a pattern here, and it isn’t one of idiosyncratic originality. By the time the Everyothers return to aping Iggy’s cabaret/nightclubbing days on the title track, all one can do is wait out closer “A New Inebriation”, knowing full well it’ll offer nothing stronger than near-beer.
If Pink Sticky Lies plays it too safe and formulaic, it’s not a total wash. The driving riff of “Dive With You” briefly enlivens things, until McCarthy lunges into rote lyrics—you hope he’s not going to rhyme the title with “I think that I could die with you,” but sure enough, he does. “Something Wrong” effectively crystallizes some NYC attitude in a line about Dorian Gray (“I saw the movie, I imagined the play”), but for the most part the lyrics reek of prematurely jaded laziness, as if the band thinks it’s reached the decadent blankness of Iggy’s “I’m Bored”. It hasn’t, but drummer John Melville does win the Everyothers a few points for being unafraid of the cymbals. Otherwise, the band name pretty effectively speaks for itself.