Thursday, April 14, 2011

Album Review: "Crawling" by Americans in France

"Crawling" by Americans in France
was released on Odessa Records on
April 12, 2011
Americans in France are a one of a kind band, it's such a brilliant cacophony of mixed genres and influences that are all spewed out with a tinge of punk and art rock that leaves the listener continually perplexed with what the band can pull out next.  The rhythms are frantic and filled with a sense of urgency, but they're distorted to the point of fuzz, which pleasantly compliments the unpredictable, but still catchy, vocal melodies.  It's hard to streamline Americans in France into one genre, but that's because it's also pretty hard to find other bands that are making the music that Americans in France are making.  "Crawling" is the band's second full-length record, released on Odessa Records on April 12, 2011.

The album opens up with a perfect kick in the face punk song tinged with surf rock called "Shopping Cart", immediately catching your attention, considering it's got these staccato punk vocal melodies that have fuzzed out guitar and some synths as well thrown in with a female harmony to top it all off.  It's just a conglomeration of noises that are all warped together perfectly, and the album is much of the same.  It's a jittery type of feeling, like the band can just up and switch the sound completely, such as found in between tracks like "The Mingler", "Uneducated Fingers", and "Sylvia!", they're tracks that truly show how expansive the band can get with their sound, going from shoegaze to punk to pop at the drop of a dime.  It keeps the album enjoyable because you aren't quite sure what to expect of the next song.  It's almost exciting at times.

The extended use of effects and pedals on the instruments works wonders as it separates their sound from all of the other lo-fi pop bands that have popped up lately, Americans in France still have a lo-fi element but they've blossomed enough from outside influences to extended themselves far from the comfort zone of making dull and boring music that gets by at bare minimum.  Songs like "Warrior Warning", the closing track on the album, show just how diverse the band gets because it goes to show that they're not just all about driving rhythms and powerful punk beats, they can show a bit of restraint and truly explore the depths of their sound.  That's where Americans in France shines the brightest though, when they begin to take on their own persona by continually making inventive songs that can't be compared to any other artist.

The joy in it though is that they've not gotten to the point where they're taking themselves too seriously with their experimentation.  Tracks like "Like I Said" clock in at 58 seconds and boast the chorus of "Fuck you!"  It's not the only time though that the band steps back and shouts out what they really think, it can be found on the track "Success" where Josh Lajoie frantically belts out that "Success can suck it" with the demeanor of a classic punk kid.  It's moments like this that make the band so enjoyable, the moments that are found throughout the entire album.  "Crawling" is an excellent progression for Americans in France, it seems as if they can continue to explore with their sound, and one can only imagine where the brilliant art-punk minds behind Americans in France will take their sound next.

No comments:

Post a Comment