@planetmosh reviews Haze by .@american_scene on .@purenoiserecs
The American Scene are a four piece from Berkeley, California. Formed in 2009, Haze is their second album, released on Pure Noise Records on September 9th.
Sometimes at Planetmosh we get to review bands and artists we really like, which is great but other times it’s nice to review someone we aren’t familiar with. Expanding horizons and all that. So I decided to review The American Scene, a band I don’t know at all. It was with much confusion that I listened to Haze and thought I’d heard it before. I got about halfway through before I realised I was being reminded of an album I reviewed about six months ago. Heavy Head is the debut album from Elder Brother and when I looked back at my review I wasn’t at all surprised to find the connection. American Scene members Matthew and Charles Vincent guested on that album, which was produced by the same man, Sam Pura at his studio, The Panda Studios. The similarities in the sound are incredible. I wrote of Heavy Head that the album should be taken as a whole rather than individual songs, as it has a sound and a theme that carry right through, making a cohesive piece of work. After several listens I can’t say the same about Haze. Individually there are some good songs, and the musicianship is solid, but taken as a whole it becomes repetitive and monotonous. This is a band who have most definitely developed their “sound.” Unfortunately they’ve become completely locked into that sound and there’s no room for anything else. Rather than developing as it goes along into a complete piece of work it just results in a set of individual songs that all sound the same. It may be that it just doesn’t have time to develop, with ten tracks coming in at only 33 minutes. Or maybe having heard Heavy Head I can’t help but compare Haze and find Heavy Head far superior.
I hate to sound so negative about this album, as I do like some of the songs, I just found it hard to listen to the whole album in one go. Dark Creak features some really great guitar work, and the layering of vocal, guitar and drums makes it an interesting listen. Brume is also a good track to listen to if you want a taste of the rest of the album.
Everyone always says that the second album is the hardest one to get right. There isn’t a song on Haze that I would say is bad. The vocals are good, the songwriting is good, and they clearly know how to put a song together, but this is an album of ten versions of the same song. Maybe they need to do what I did in choosing this album for review. Expand their horizons.
Track Listing: Haze/Royal Blue/Nails of Love/4th and Broadway/Dark Creak/What I Could Gather/Over to you/White Widow/Drone/Brume.
Links: http://american-haze.com, www.facebook.com/theamericanscene, @american_scene.