Released: July 22, 2003
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum
It is amazing that a group of guys from Nebraska have become so synonymous with the west coast sound. 311 are back with their seventh full-length album Evolver.
Keeping to the formula that they helped break back in the ’90s, 311 play a fine, fun combination of rap, reggae, Cali punk and hard rock. While it is not the best of any of those genres, the mix is what has kept this band popular for so long.
There are no tracks on Evolver that will find mainstream success as “Amber” did off of From Chaos but that is not to say there are a few good songs. “Same Mistake Twice” could make for a fun song to hear live with its sing-song chorus. For the fans who fell for “Amber”, there is “Beyond The Gray Sky”, a jazzy, smooth track that builds to a amped-up rock climax. “Still Dreaming” is in classic 311 form, with clean and rapped vocals trading off in front of hard rock guitars. Another good song that should make it into their set list would be “Don’t Dwell” with its funk bass line and bounce-ready chorus.
Unfortunatley, too often, the guitars are thick and all over the place, the drums are hollow and the vocals are as annoying as ever. Evolver is an album that will appeal to the legion of long-term stoner fans of the band but for the sober masses, 311 will remain a phone number.