REVIEW: American Restless
ALBUM: Rust Belt Rock N Roll
Just like dating, you go into a night knowing whether you’re gonna like it, love it, or just not so much of either and while I knew nothing of American Restless before being brought to my attention, after hearing their sound, I was firmly in the like category, but could be swayed into the love zone with more acclimation.
My catalog of punk, ska, and rockabilly is very limited not because I don’t like it, rather just a simple lack of listening often enough, though I dig the sound when done right and adore its forcible nature to move your matter, to make you bounce and rock, which really means I must get my ass to more of these sorts of live performances.
Anyhow, I’m not entirely sure the genres I listed accurately describe American Restless’ Rust Belt Rock N Roll especially when they self-define their style clearly as Rust Belt Rock N Roll.
Ok, good to know.
Again, my review comes having not known previous work, from where each member comes, or depth of genre.
My purpose here is to listen to an album having been made aware of, then offer instinctual feelings and opinions in sheer and sometimes brutal honesty.
Spoiler, I dug this album.
Now, when this opportunity was presented, I was hesitantly reluctant, one, because I’m afraid of not truly liking something and possibly hurt artists’ feelings attached to their art, assuming my silly opinion carries any weight in their world, because I have no interest in lying to spare said feelings, (though I rarely hate or dislike any music, but love and adore just as rarely) but more realistically because I had just been looking at a screen for about 5 hours and not to be punny, but I was feeling restless myself.
So, I tossed it on and crashed face-first into my bed…
Synchronicity strikes as the opening song, “King Bee” twangs on, “Oh lord, all I wanted was some rest…”
ok, I’ll play along.
A couple songs roll through and the sound and lyrics pulse new life into my weary bones and by time the 3 rd track, “Western Wind” cracks, it finds me more focused on this new sound coming from my JBL Charge 4, which I now transfer to the Yamaha Soundbar for a fuller feel, giving respect due to this sort of echoey and high pitched, distortion-laden sound.
“Walk Out The Door” brings even more distortion and a rawness not felt in previous tracks which really kicks into gear and wrenches me into bouncing around my studio apartment in thick socks and underwear, “come on, let’s walk out the door!”
(well, maybe let’s not, considering, but dang if I wasn’t motivated to).
“Dead River” is the kind of song I really dig as it starts out like Blue Grass poetry, hooks me, then drops that Rust Belt Rock sound.
“Rolling Thunder” rolls through about 3 minutes (2nd longest song on the album) of mostly riffs with few vocals followed by ‘Sleep for the Suffering ‘ offering a more punk feel,
maybe activist punk with quick rhythm and catchy lyrics.
At this point, you realized we’ve knocked out 8 songs in 22 upbeat minutes with two tracks to go.
Rust Belt Rock N Roll’s penultimate track is a lyricless theme song for any number of movie montages, sports clips, or horse chases as it rambles on, forcing your foot to kick with the drum and bass…
Rounding out American Restless’ debut album is “Lost,” a mellow, relative to all before, 3-minute highlight of raspy vocals and instrument mastery.
Again, I haven’t had much experience with this sound in quite a while and it harkened me back to the late 90’s when I came down from my small country town to visit a cousin in Pasadena who then dragged my shy ass to a house party rockin live ska/ra/funk/punk bands which felt like a whole other world I was now made aware of, yet still never really delved into after returning back to northern California.
No real drawbacks as far as I was concerned though I am a bit curious if, given the clear mastery of respective instruments and short duration of songs, maybe the lyrics were written to fit each song, marqueeing the musicians as the showpiece as a jazz band might.
Certainly, no knock on the lyrics written, just that it feels from my perspective like the they were designed as an afterthought to each piece itself.
Flying through 10 songs in 28 minutes seems to suggest as much to me as a very amateur reviewer, though again, many of these jams are perfect in the 2-minute range.
Short, biting, raucous, and sweet like ginger.
Then, I listened to it again while getting in the shower and almost managed to get through the entirety of the album before finishing.
I usually take but a 5 minute shower, but lately I’ve been dealing with low water pressure and lagging hot water which arrived with new management after having the best and quickest hot water pressure in the city prior. Feels like their motive is to save money on heating the water at the expense of water itself, the actual resource needing more attention and respect…
Additionally, I spent most of the time rescuing newly residenced ants from falling water droplets, ironically while searching for water, and blowing them out the bathroom window.
Anyhow, the shower listen became an exercise in trying to remember all the badass thoughts I had whilst in and to describe this album that I had increasingly grown more fond of on second listen, though like another dimension, as soon as that curtain drew open, the towel seemed to dry away the sop and any magic I held whilst on the other side…
Clearly, I failed to bring any of that genius back with me and this is the review you get.
That said, a solid listen, will keep quite a few in the master playlist, a few others in a genre/mood specific playlist (when the album drops, of course, 6/16/23) and plan for a live show at next opportunity, where I’m betting, we’ll all truly fall for this veteran crew.
Overall, a solid 8/10
Noah Lekas – Vocals, Guitar
Ian Grant – Bass
Arjuna Contreras – Drums
Follow American Restless Online:
Born city, raised country, west coast to east coast and back again. B.A., M.B.A., then back to LA,
lending to a love of capturing moments given any lens, and the adoration of all music, especially experienced live,
where this moment-capturing poet jives and thrives.
work in progress, y’all
[a part of the Founders Yonder Collective (FYCmoments)]