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American Hi-Fi: Blood & Lemonade

Album Review

Power pop: still powerful, but popular? We’ll see...

As the Blink-182 comeback, the Reading and Leeds line-ups and cardiograms on Cheap Trick attest, power pop will never die, and among its finest modern proponents are Boston’s American Hi-Fi.

A band who, for their sins, day-job as back-up musicians for Miley Cyrus and Matchbox Twenty, together they tread the noble line between Fountains Of Wayne geek and Jimmy Eat World emo crunch, with a fair few sackfuls of hard rock riffery lobbed in for ballast. 

This fifth album, recorded in singer Stacy Jones’s studio The Deathstar, is certainly a formidable attack weapon. With Brian Nolan pounding beats like he’s single-handedly fighting off an orc invasion, Jamie Arentzen firing off lightning licks and Jones’ vocals flip-flopping between indie-rich and geek-nasal, the likes of Wake Up and the single Allison detonate with the megatonnage of a dozen Fall Out Boys while maintaining a melodic indie rock finesse, and Amnesia rolls over you like a rolling stock Sonisphere, parping a glittery pop chorus. 

Jones bears the requisite quotient of lovelorn angst through Carry The Sorrow and the Elliott Smith-gone-Whitesnake No Ordinary Life – remember, romantic constancy is emo Kryptonite – but there’s enough brittle punch to Blood & Lemonade to freshen even the stuffiest cliché.

TeamRock+

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