The American Scene

By Way Of Introduction

Written by: TL on 22/10/2011 17:01:00

The American Scene is a three-piece from California that, based on the fact that I haven't heard about them prior to the release I'm about to write about, you guys probably haven't heard much about either. Their first album "By Way Of Introduction" actually came out all the way back in March, but took till mid-July to find its way to my promo pile, where it has been patiently awaiting its turn for review.

On this record The American Scene go for a very straight-forward type of rock with slight tinges of both pop and emo, and while this would have most people scrambling to compare them to Jimmy Eat World, I actually think their sound is more akin to that of Mae, The Jealous Sound or possibly even Mayday Parade (also, given my devotion to Jimmy Eat World, I don't like to throw comparisons to them around recklessly). The general approach seems to do away with all notions of trends and gimmicks and instead go directly for traditional, sentimental American rock songs, more reliant on good melodies and solid songwriting than any imaginable sort of surprises.

Surely, such an intention is nothing but admirable, but the limitations it puts upon you would probably burden most bands, because it means you actually have to come up with some damn good hooks and melodies very consistently to produce a good album. A challenging task, albeit not quite an impossible one (just ask the Foo Fighters), yet one that, judging from "By Way Of Introduction", is firmly out of reach of The American Scene, who, in trying to be credible and memorable, mostly come up a bit run-of-the-mill and mediocre. Their basic elements are decent at best (see the singing and drumming) and somewhat samey and uninspired at worst (see the guitar work), and even their better songs, such as "Did You hear About Your Friends In California", "Marty McFly, Nostradamus, And I" and "This Is Rebirth", only manage to get to the point where they're recognisable when you come upon them - which is a bit short of what you want from them, namely for them to stick to your mind and actually invite you back to the record in the future.

The American Scene have their ambitions in order it seems, they're just betrayed by their level of talent at this stage. This is a shame, because it makes lyrics like "Does it crush you to know, you're just like everyone else?" and "... when [the music] hits my mouth, I'm scared that the things that come out will shake the whole world" a little cringe-worthy - the smart-ass in me wants to answer "I don't know, does it?" and "no need to worry about that, it would've been awesome though". All things considered, the record has enough drawbacks and few enough advantages, to ultimately feel like a pleasant although decisively average release. It can gratify you for a little while if you're in the mood for some solid, romantic rock, but it just doesn't feel like it has the staying power to be remembered even in a year's time.

6

Download: Did You Hear About Your Friends In California; This Is Rebirth; Marty McFly, Nostradamus, And I
For The Fans Of: The Jealous Sound, Mae, Mayday Parade
Listen: facebook.com/theamericanscene

Release Date 08.03.2011
Pure Noise

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