Classy four tracker from classy three piece
Los Angeles based three piece, The Americans clearly have more lofty ideals than the usual air headed rock n roll that is associated with that State.
Even their name gives that away. Not named after their nation, instead The Americans take their moniker from the controversial photo series by Robert Frank, which was first published in 1958 with a forward by Jack Kerouac.
They have built up quite a pedigree too. Since forming in 2010 they have 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 and are about to be the House Band on Jack White’s new documentary on the roots of American music.
A good choice too, given the four tracks are dripping with authenticity and are genuinely superb slices of American heartland rock n roll in the great tradition.
Anyone who was in the thrall of bands like Son Volt and Whiskeytown at the start of the Americana boom will find much to enjoy in the opener “Nevada” which veers from a bar room stomper to something more widescreen with ease.
The title offers a kind of blue collar honesty which brings to mind The Gaslight Anthem and there is – like Brian Fallon’s men – a genuine crossover potential about them. Scratch below the surface, though and the lyrics betray a deep sadness. “I had a dream in this town,” offers Patrick Ferris in the chorus, “but I’m leaving now.”
As if eager to explore the limitless possibilities this rootsy approach offers them, there is a foray into a kind of soulful area with “Last Chance” and it is meant as a huge compliment to suggest that it could have come out at any point in the history of music and not been out of place.
Everything here, though, has to give way to the quite brilliant, evocative storytelling of “Gospel Roads”. The character in the song struggles with guilt following the death of his Preacher father. “I feel closer to those tales of sin that I seldom understood but often told” he sings and it is a wonderful way to end an EP of huge promise.
Like the title says, it is fair to say The Americans have the right stuff and expect to see a lot more of them.