Full length debut which builds on the promise
A couple of months ago we reviewed a new EP by a band who had, its fair to say, achieved a lot in their short time.
Now, MV knows unsigned bands who are chuffed if they sell out their local boozer, but The Americans have bigger plans. Despite being unsigned at the time, these boys have already appeared on US TV talk shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, and served as a backing band for Lucinda Williams, Nick Cave and Courtney Love. They also recorded an original song for Hal Willner’s Son of Rogue’s Gallery, an album of sea shanties and pirate songs featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards, and Nick Cave, executive produced by Johnny Depp and their music is featured in the Michael Mann produced film Texas Killing Fields,
And why has this happened? Well, largely because they are fantastic.
Three of the four songs from the EP are right here (the one missing is our favourite “Gospel Roads”) and whilst it is always a worry as to whether a band can do it over a full-length album, those concerns are dispelled by the third track here.
Significant because the first two – the rabble-rousing Americana of “Nevada” and the EP’s title track “The Right Stuff” – are already well-thumbed, so for “Stowaway” a bluesy strutter at just under three minutes to enter the arena as confidently as it does is a relief.
There is something truly special about the way the three-piece, who profess a distrust of modern music, slip between sounds as if it is the most natural thing in the world. “I’ll Be Yours” is fragile and stripped back, while “Last Chance” is followed up with some old-time blues that might just only make perfect sense at about 3am when you’re trying to text an ex. “Even longing for you is sweet,” sings Patrick Ferris and you actually feel sorry for him.
But then, after this, they really take a left turn. “Hooky” is fuzzy, pulsing urgency, recalling the punk sounds of bands like The Sonics as if to prove that if you try to second guess The Americans you do so at your peril, frankly.
Their natural habitat, though, does seem to be blue-collar dirt roads, “Gone At Last” comes on like something off Brian Fallon’s solo record, and “Harbor Lane” kicks in with a guitar line that is like an updated take on Dire Straits’ “Walk Of Life.”
There is a timeless quality about the work here. Nothing is forced, either, it all seems to come naturally. “Long Way From Home” instantly transports you back to some diner in the 1960s and “Bronze Star” is a simply gorgeous love song that could have come from any point in musical history and not been out of place.
A band that started as buskers ends the record back where they began, with the acoustic “Daphne” and whilst their ability – and desire – to keep things as old school as possible is only to be applauded, The Americans are such a magnificent proposition that they might have to get used to being a huge rock n roll band.