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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Multi-Channel Music > Everclear - So Much For The Afterglow (DVD-Audio)

Everclear – So Much For the Afterglow


Music: B     PCM Stereo: B     MLP 5.1: A-     DTS 6.1: A-     Extras: B-



I had to wonder about how a DVD-Audio by a group like Everclear, successful at writing three chord, catchy little post grunge tunes, would work.  How would the music fill the MLP and DTS-ES audio out?


For one, I began wondering what type of placement would be used for the instruments, and since they rely primarily on guitar hooks, and a few bass riffs, what else was left?  This is not to say that you necessarily need a lot of instrumentation in order to make multi-channel fun, but still this was an interesting choice for DVD-Audio.  Rather than use their initial album, which mustered the hit song Santa Monica, the use of their best-written album So Much For the Afterglow (1997) was a wise decision.  The band was stronger, more creative, and certainly more experienced with this album inviting it to a better DVD-Audio experience. 


What is impressive about this album is the fact that four songs from it became radio hits.  This is certainly a rare thing these days, so the group had that going for them.  Those songs included Everything to Everyone, I Will Buy You A New Life, Father Of Mine, and One Hit Wonder, while Sunflowers was also a small hit.  Considering the fact that after their debut release most people had them pinned as a flash in the pan type of band, they held on strong.  Part of the reason for the demise in the grunge/alternative rock movement was due to the fact that everyone was becoming popular at it, but couldn’t produce follow up material to the initial success and the death of Kurt Cobain sent the world into shock.  Bands like Everclear, and even Dave Grohl, took on the task after Nirvana and formed The Foo Fighters, which proved that rock was not dead, nor was it ready to retreat.  The death of one individual and the fact that a few bad apples out there would not ruin the bunch did not stop the true bands passionate enough to press on.  Everclear did prove with So Much For the Afterglow that they were not willing to surrender and put together some of their most intimate work, which they have yet to surpass. 


The album is not a solid one, but it does have certain gems hidden among the bunch.  Everything to Everyone was featured on the American Pie soundtrack in 1999, which brought some life to the album yet again even two years after its initial release.  So the question at hand is whether or not this DVD-Audio release can perform the same miracle.  The answer to that is mixed, but hopefully the following information will help guide those in the right direction regardless of the choice. 


There are three audio options for this DVD-Audio given that the listener has a DVD-Video/DVD-Audio player, which has the ability to read the Higher Resolution MLP track.  If that is the case then you also have the PCM 2.0 Stereo track and DTS-ES Discrete channels to compare to as well.  There are certain benefits to each of these tracks, as I will attempt to construct an outline for each of them.  


The PCM Stereo mix is by far the weakest in terms of fullness, simply due to the fact that is has no surround activity.  However, it remains strong in the front soundstage clearly cutting above and beyond what the regular 16-bit CD tracks could ever do.  The strength is its power, since the vocals sound clear and clear, the guitars do justice, and the drums are laid in quite nice.  Everything is in its proper place sounding similar in terms of its actual mix to the CD, but sounding richer.  All three of the mixes are at a 48K sample rate with a bit-depth of 24, which cannot touch some of the higher 96/24 releases, but then again we are given an ES channel here. 


The DTS-ES and the MLP 5.1 surround mixes sound totally different than the PCM mix and different from each other as well.  The MLP offers a cleaner sound, allowing the vocals to penetrate through the layers of guitars and drums and hitting the listener with greater impact.  The bass is cut down a little, offering more fidelity in the upper range, which is fine for those who are not bass fanatics.  Guitars are placed randomly through the 5 channels making for a fun listen.  There are pans from left to right as well as surround left and surround right.  The vocals tend to be pushed from the center, but at times with more harmonies in tact, they become more active in the rears. 


The DTS-ES track is a sheer delight and disappointment all at once.  It is the best in terms of fun, flexible, and flamboyancy, but it lacks the definition making the vocals nearly indistinguishable at times.  This is certainly unacceptable.  The reason for this is two-fold.  The mix takes the front center and rear center (the ES channel) and tries to bounce the vocals back and forth between these two channels.  Anyone who has ever studied sound design knows that when you face two speakers towards one another that the sound cancels out when the same frequencies are coming out.  The vocals that are coming out of the front center and rear center become lost due to the activity overriding the other four channels.  The mix is still fun, given that you are familiar enough with the songs that you are not trying to listen to get the right lyrics. Each song differs slightly from this anyway, but for the most part, songs are not mixed altogether well.  It attempts to be fun, but with this fun comes the lack of discipline in creating a mix smart enough to take full benefit of the format. 


Track Listing


So Much For the Afterglow

Everything to Everyone

Alaraxia (Media Intro)

Normal Like You

I Will Buy You A New Life

Father of Mine

One Hit Wonder

El Distorto de Melodica


White Men in Black Suits


Why I Don’t Believe in God

Like a California King


Lyrics are available on screen with the songs, which is a nice touch.  There are also two bonus videos for Father of Mine and Everything to Everyone, which can be played back in DTS-ES, which utilize the same mixes heard on the regular DVD-Audio only placed over the video.  This makes for a good comparison to the way it was heard on TV with its regular CD tracks used for the music video.  Father of Mine is a terrific video and the one that offers the best concept, which is aided by the bands better writing efforts.  One cannot help but feel the connection of the song to the idea of a father never being there for a child and now the child is looking back realizing the absence of his father has created some tension within him now.  Even with some of the mix problems this is certainly a DVD-Audio worth checking into if for nothing other than just fun.  The band is energetic, so is the mix, and some nice extras make this a disc that will only disappoint a few.



-   Nate Goss


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