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ALBUM REVIEW: American Princes/Other People April 16, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Album Reviews.
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In the Little Rock music scene, few have been recently talked up and anointed as the Next Big Thing more frequently than American Princes.   Publications as diverse as Q, Magnet, and The Onion stood up and took notice of the Princes’ last album, 2006’s Less and Less, and the buzz around here about their upcoming disc has been impossible to avoid in my circles for the last few months.  Rough tracks have been passed around, videos have been made, people have huddled around picnic tables on the Vino’s deck to listen to scraps here and there…and now the new album has finally arrived.

I’m happy to report that it’s been worth the wait, and to introduce Other People (Yep Roc).  From the opening track (“Auditorium”), the album pulses and burbles with high-gloss pop energy that gets me out of my chair.  

Maybe you’re like me and grew up with big old headphones, sitting on shag carpet listening to your parent’s albums, reading liner notes and lyrics.  Lyrics matter to me.  Nothing will make me fling your album (errr, “CD”) across the room faster than stupid lyrics.  Smart lyrics stick with me all day.  I’d gladly sit on some shag carpet with you today if you want to parse the meaning of lyrics from your favorite songs.  Give me a call, and I’ll bring the Kool-Aid.

Speaking of lyrics, Other People is a disc full of rich lyrics-y goodness.   The standout trackfor me is the haunting “Gravel”, whispered and wailed by David Slade on vocals:

Wait/Wait again/I had a dream last night and you were featured/As soon as I said your name you crumbled to the ground and burned by the roadside

Back from the dead, I was asleep last night/You spoke so softly/About everything instead of why I was lonely/and there’s a ghost in my shell/This is the place/This is the lonely cabin where I’m spending all my days and there’s a crime in my coffin.

Warning:  “Gravel” has a quietly building chorus–I Feel Energy In This Room–that has taken up residence in my skull and hasn’t left for days.  Look for what I promise is a  really terrific video to be released soon, done by local heroes Deluxe 36 (Kevin Stanbery and Bryan Stafford) and starring many of the folks you see around town at shows.

Other tracks of note:  “Real Love” has hit single written all over it.  A video was done for this track that some folks are raving about, but it bugs me large.  Maybe I’m not art-school enough to get this one, but this video drives me away.  It’s utterly distracting from what is a solid track.   However, some of my friends are raving about it.   Readers are invited to voice their own opinion:  here it is:  “REAL LOVE” VIDEO

The hardest pumping track by far is “Kid Incinerator,” dominated by driving guitar work (Slade, Collins Kilgore, Will Boyd) and a booming rhythm section of Matt Quin on drums and Luke Hunsicker on bass.  Live, this is the track that is felt in your chest and scalp, giving you that feeling of an extra pulse.

For years, it’s been whispered that American Princes might be on the cusp of breaking out, of making it, of being the next group from Little Rock to garner national attention.   Other People is the first Princes album produced by national talent Chuck Brody (who’s produced for talent such as Wu-Tang Clan).   With that kind of pressure, Other People could easily have been a misstep or aimed low. 

Happily, the Princes met the challenge.  Pick up Other People and give it a listen.   Local boys made good.

Sibilance,

Glen

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1. American Princes: 4 Stars in the June issue of UNCUT « CheckOneTwo - July 7, 2008

[…] month, and came across a review of our very own American Princes’ new album, Other People (reviewed by CheckOneTwo in this space back in April).  They dug it large.  Check it out: it’s the issue with David Bowie on the […]


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