From the band's name, and five seconds of any track on Ownerless, it's clear that Everest aims for enormous. Since the beginning of the L.A. quintet's career, any listener can see that they have had that talent on lock. Ownerless, their third LP, sees a relaxed group playing in character, happy to leave tracks in a simple state. At it's lowest points, the album feels stagnant and rehashes ideas a few times over. At their best, Everest shows the merits of playing straight-up rock: well-crafted melodies, beautifully distorted electric guitars and irresistible singalong harmonies.
Everest's sound can be likened to many, from their influences in Led Zeppelin and Neil Young, to 2000s era artists like Wilco and Rogue Wave. According to the band's website, the title "Ownerless" refers to "a kind of creative freedom the likes of which you have never known before." Everest is free on this record; Ownerless appears to be a set of 11 songs that the group wanted to make. And the results are solid, if not revolutionary -- or even evolutionary. The first two tracks, the gigantic single "Rapture" and "Into The Grey" start off the album on a very strong note, playing to Everest's rock and roll bread and butter. Russell Pollard's infectious harmonies alone are enough to hold the listener's attention on "Rapture," and the spooky synths on "Into The Grey" provide variation from the standard guitar rock that eventually overtakes this album.
Other tracks like "Raking Me Over The Coals" explore different territory, but move very slowly. On an album highlight like the heavy "Hungry Ghost," it's clear that Everest deserves credit for a mature absence of restlessness. But upon repeat listens, Ownerless is a record of some strong hits -- and unfortunately, other forgettable misses.
Watch the band play their infamous hit "Let Go" in one of our CMJ sessions.