ALBUM: Whitey Ford's House of Pain
Whether you know him as Everlast, Whitey Ford or perhaps Erik Francis Schrody, chances are you've heard the musical stylings of this exceptionally versatile singer-songwriter/rap legend over the years. From solo releases to his work with House of Pain and alongside Carlos Santana, Everlast's latest album 'Whitey Ford's House of Pain' showcases an eclectic sonic evolution three decades in the making - and it's an intimate yet sturdy outing you'd expect from a seasoned veteran.
Released under his own indie label and signalling the first new music since 2011's 'Songs of the Ungrateful Living', 'Whitey Ford's House of Pain' musters Everlast's unique and innovative blending of hip-hop, rock, folk and beyond across 12 tracks (plus a few interludes) of genre-bending goodness.
The album kicks off with 'One of Us', which promptly reminds us of Everlast's signature gravelled vocals draped over pleasant instrumentals before lead single 'The Culling' flips the switch and brings some moody rap to proceedings.
'THE CULLING' (EVERLAST)
The remainder of 'Whitey Ford's House of Pain' largely continues this pattern of juxtaposition between heartfelt rock ballads ('It Ain't Easy', 'Summer Rain'), dour hip hop ('The Climb', 'Dream State'), upbeat jams ('Don't Complain') and the occasional flicker of down and dirty blues ('Slow Your Roll'). Lyrically, there's overall a definite sense of the old-school insolence of Everlast's younger days, but with a slightly tender edge that hints at his softer sides, and in particular his personal ordeal managing his daughter's cystic fibrosis.
Deep down, the surprising fact here isn't that Everlast's latest album is good - with a resume that spans a Grammy win, several solo albums and worldwide success, the sparkling production and confident delivery is practically expected. But what is particularly compelling about Everlast and this latest creation is how much he commits to broadening his style while staying true to his defiance of conformity without selling his soul, as the man himself explains: "I make records, I tour them and I take care of my family...I don’t have a team of publicists. I could’ve been part of that machine. But that’s not my goal. I don’t need mansions or private jets. My lifestyle is sustainable. I live within my means. That’s how I can take eight years to make a record. I have an extreme attraction to both hard work and hardship. I find them both beautiful."
Whether you're a House of Pain fan from way back or fancy a modern take on old school hip hop, Everlast has yet again defied the norm with 'Whitey Ford's House of Pain' - and there ain't nothing painful about this latest venture.
'Whitey Ford's House of Pain' is out and about at all the usual musical haunts. For more info, head here.
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BY TIANA SPETER