Friday, June 7, 2013

Music Review - American Stories

Assuming American Stories is a an Americana band would far too one-dimensional. An Americana/punk-influenced/Adult Alternative band might be something closer to the mark...though it still falls short of what they've offered up on the latest.

The new album, Where the Grass is Green is their first as a full band. There are some songs rehashed from their previous effort, Prelude but the new arrangements do nothing to detract from the sound of the songs. If anything, the addition of a second guitar and a full time bassist, as well the exploration of other instruments like ukelele, keyboards, and mandolins, brings a fuller sound to the stories previously told.

Stand out songs on this album include "Sing Along with me California (Interlude 1)", a song that matches vocals to music succinctly and shows a bit of that feel of "we used to be punk rockers, but we are quieter now, yet still a bit pissed off". Many of these songs seem to be observations on the transitions that occur for many musicians and their styles change and their lives start to break in on the music itself. "City of Angels" is another song that strikes a chord with traveling musicians. It shows the expansiveness of the band and the rekindling of songs with new sounds. "Halfmast", originally recorded on Prelude is still probably the best piece of story telling on the album and probably the most radio ready track.

At the end of the day, this isn't just americana and it isn't just an album for musicians to enjoy. This is a great group of musicians showing the level of their craftsmanship at this stage of the game. A different stage than their roots, but a good place to be.

Where to find them

RIYL: 10 Cent Howl, The Dirty River Boys, Paul Westerberg

1 comment: