American Hi-Fi “Blood & Lemonade”
Hands up who wants to hear the new album from Miley Cyrus’ drummer? No one???
How about from the former drummer for US Indie darlings Verruca Salt? Maybe??
How about the latest release from the great pop rock band American Hi Fi?? That should be a hell, yeah!
For those not in the know, the main man in American Hi –fi, Stacy Jones, is actually the person referred to in all those questions. Whilst his day job may be working with the delightful Miley (my kids loved Hannah Montana!) he has also been responsible for releasing some pop rock gems with his band. “Blood & Lemonade” is a welcome return from a band who seem to have been away for some time.
First song “Armageddon Days” hints the band may be more focused on a rock rather than pop sound and it certainly has a slightly darker sound compared to previous releases. The heavy riff on “Golden Statue” confirms this feeling and this along with songs like “Wake Up” and “Amnesia” have an almost Foo Fighters feel to them and suggest the band really want to rock.
There are still some hints of pop and possibly some more ‘commercial’ nuggets amongst many of the other tracks. Despite its rather depressing title “Coma” is actually a more upbeat sounding tune. It’s the song which has the real pop hook which has always been such a strength of the band. “Allison” is sadly not an Elvis Costello cover (now, it would be cool to hear this band do that!) but it does share Mr Costello’s knack for delivering a pop flavoured punk rock song. The title of “Carry The Sorrow” is again misleading, as it’s one of the more melodic songs on the album. Indeed, this is the one you can really imagine being a huge U.S. radio hit.
The up-tempo sound is kept going by “Portland” which is the band at their pop/rock best. Then the album is drawn to a close with “No Ordinary Life” which is a big anthemic rock song. It’s got the sense of being a huge mid song set to really capture the audience in a moment.
It may be a reaction to their recent day job playing pop songs for the masses, but there is a definite feel the band have consciously produced an album with a harder sound. This will perhaps appeal to the bands fans with a more hardcore rock based background, who may have been concerned with previous attempts to achieve a more crossover appeal on previous albums. Thankfully, they haven’t fully sacrificed their ear for a good pop melody which still features on a number of songs (arguably, or at least to this listener, the better ones). This album is yet another solid American H-Fi album which will leave you a little puzzled as to why they have never quite managed to get the support or exposure that bands like American Rejects and Fall Out Boy have enjoyed.