From trailer-trash beer-boy to soul-swiggin' blues-evangelist, [a]Everlast[/a]'s recent sonic rebirth is one of rock's most intriguing volte-face....

From trailer-trash beer-boy to soul-swiggin’ blues-evangelist, [a]Everlast[/a]’s recent sonic rebirth is one of rock’s most intriguing volte-face. Where once he cussed’n’dissed with frat-rappers [a]House Of Pain[/a], the ex-gangsta-wannabe’s solo debut ‘Whitey Ford Sings The Blues’ – a rock-hinged mosaic of darkened psalms and sun-parched soul-searching – witnessed a noble vault into redemptive pastures.

But though that album saw [a]Everlast[/a]’s demons hushed by the odd nod to past hip-hop sins, ‘Today’ – an eight-track grab-bag of covers, live versions and new tracks – proffers no such penitence. Instead, [a]Everlast[/a] now finds himself swaggering under the illusion that he’s a soft-metal icon; a bourbon-glugging ambassador for the unconquerable province of rock.

Thus, ‘Put Your Lights On’ – a stoned dirge assisted by, yup, Santana – sounds like Dire Straits choking on their hominy grits, while a live version of HOP‘s ‘Jump Around’ is buggered up by brawling guitars and hideously hirsute jazz bass. Only ‘What It’s Like’ – a live reprise of the ‘Whitey Ford…’ track – hints at the drawling insouciance the Bostonian was once so capable of. The rest, though, is mere [I]sturm und drang[/I] – corporate rock-corn for Limp Bizkit fans. The blues forgotten and the soul displaced, [a]Everlast[/a]’s road to redemption stops here.

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