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Americana

Rose Hill Drive

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Customer Reviews

Good for what it is, but a departure from albums past...

I have to say I was disappointed in this album, but I'm rating it on what it is in and of itself, not what it is in relation to their past albums.

I came to love RHD back in 2006 because of their raw, simplistic, and almost "classic rock" sound. "Americana" seems to be a departure from that and favors what I would consider to be a more modern sound. The songs incorporate a lot more dissonance, and are a bit more complex in composition. Maybe the guys were kind of sick of being referred to as the next incarnation of Zeppelin or whatever... Who knows. For what it is, it's good and well put together. Just not what I'm into and not what I was hoping for.

And as a side note, I really miss Jacob on bass, and the power trio format. Jimmy Stofer's playing doesn't have NEAR the amount of raw edge and power that Jacob did. Not sure why they decided to go to a 4-piece...

"If it

Friday night. I’m listening to Rose Hill Drive’s new release “Americana”. Ah, the taste of fresh RHD. I’ve had to call off my other plans for the evening. The lady was not happy, but she’ll cheer up once I cue “Speed Dial” on our next outing.

RHD’s first two records are probably the rock albums I have listened to most in the past decade. Killers, Arcade Fire, Phoenix, Jet, the multiple Jack White joints, all put out great albums, to name a few, but seems like no matter what I find along the way, I return to the Sproul brothers for their raw, driving rhythms, ballsy vocals and bravura guitar.

Their second disk, “Moon is the New Earth,” jumped the curb of the electric blues and jamb band cred that they had built their reputation on, burning up broader avenues of musical reference while maintaining the signature drive that makes them one of the most fascinating and daring bands on the rock scene. The key ingredients are Jake’s acerbic vocals and diamond cut lyrics, Daniel’s agile fretwork, and the rampaging beats of Nathan Barnes.

I recommend “Americana” to all my friends. Even the cover art is choice. Inside is full of gags and jokes and dead serious at the same time. The tunes are about the day-to-day grind, politics of sex, freedom and cultural decay. Check this snip from the title track. “Americana” – “If it’s real I don’t care if it’s plastic.” What words could define a culture of consume-and-discard better? Daniel’s fretwork on this barn-burner opening track is the most off-the-chain of anything recorded to date.

Applause for the production as well. Quantum leaps took place not only in the music this time, but in the studio. Everyone is having a good time and It’s infectious. Congratulations to all. The record offers a tip to digital musicians of the future, “analog.”

I would caution first time listeners. If you think you have a song on “Americana” pegged in the opening minute, prepare for a surprise or two. Often as not, the Sproul boys toy with expectations. Lovingly laid grooves are booby trapped with twists and turns on strange bridges and blazing after burns.

And did you know they're a four piece now? You want to hear what the 4th wheel of the new four-wheel Drive model sounds like? Check "Telepathic" This stripped down, low-slung trance makes use of debut cat, Jimmy Stofer’s cultured seasonings, chipping in low-end jam that sets the eardrums on edge. When Daniel’s solo finally surfaces, the restless groove glows like a secret, psychic signal suddenly exposed.

“Baby Don’t You Know You’re Man – I listened a few times. It has impressive energy, but the song was actually a turn off for me. I don’t know why. It cranks into hyper-drive like good Foo Fighters. To these rickety ear bones though, it seems either forced, or cliché. But, what do I know? Watch it be the one that gets the most play.

“Pictures of You” – A four-minute opera of high stakes love jinx. Morbid two key organ into. Dreary guitar accompaniment. Drum beat drags like the trudge of Frankenstein. Now, split it down the middle with a breezy, surfer boy chorus and you’re not going to believe your ears. You will ask yourself, how can this be RHD? Then sit back and be blown away while they pull it off. Sound whack? Sorry, but to quote Jake’s beast, “I can not argue with how I feel now.”

“Speed Dial” is my favorite song. With a tongue-in-cheek busy-signal intro and Jake camping up his voice by screwing it down. It sounds like we’re tuned-in to the tiny speaker of his phone. His chick’s on the other end pressing for where she stands in the cue. He explains to the squeeze, “I have nine.” Fellow music lovers, I assure you, no song by David Byrne or even Bowie was delivered with a more theatrical flair. Wish I could see your face when you hear it. Can’t wait to see this live.

Fast forward to my next favorite song on the record “Your Mother’s Jam”. I’ll say it again, what’s most contagious about the record is how much fun everybody is having. Just when you think you’re going to settle in to a funky retro-folk/blues confection, the tempo triples. Nate’s cymbals start to shimy. With a rush we accelerate onto RHD jam deluxe. Jake pays respects to Jagger, Plant, Bowie in the way his modulations are delivered for maximum comic and dramatic effect. Daniel slams the works home with an impeccably polished blues progression, thick as molasses, stirred with sick flourishes from unsane finger tips. This song sneaks up.

Eight songs in, “Birds Against the Glass” provides a drop tempo. The track features RHD unplugged at a new peak of excellence, accomplishing way more than just giving us a place to rest our ears. The song exhibits their range with elegance and simplicity. It is the most meaningful, artistic and accomplished of all the quieter tunes RHD has recorded. I look forward to a whole lot more like this from these guys.

This brand shiny new, four-piece gizmo is slicker in some respects, trashier in others, and filled with novelty and surprise. I’m going to take back what I said before. This final tune is my number one favorite on the album.

“Birthday’s and Breakups” revs along as a power pop lament with a Top 40 chorus. A false ending echoes and rolls to punk climax like muzak from Joey Ramon’s heaven, then magically expands into a rapturous anthem before throwing the switch. Abrupt is not the word here. Right here, all that lush production falls off the front porch swing onto some solemn folk guitar picking with changes that would normally belong to a different record altogether but, surprise! It’s the same tune. Ha-ha! I thought I had accidentally jumped to something else on my pod library, but the album is called Americana after all. Before I could figure this out, these wizards managed to cross the bridge and did it so soulfully as to rinse out all kinds of dung and cobwebs from my ears that I didn't know was in there. I forget how good a good record can be. “Americana” is one of those. records.

like a breath of fresh air

i found these guys when their first album came out and it was solid blues rock. now they have evolved into a more creative punky, funky grove machine fueled by psychadelics and smiles. this is the best album i've heard in over a year. every track is steller!

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The mountain-set college town of Boulder, CO, has since the late '60s had a notoriously hippie-ish, laid-back vibe. In the '70s, mellow soft rockers Firefall were the city's main musical export, and more recently bands like Leftover Salmon, the Samples, the String Cheese Incident, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters have made Boulder jam band central. (To be fair, the Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra is also a Boulder native, so it's not all hacky sack, noodle dancing, and patchouli.) This makes the...
Full Bio
Americana, Rose Hill Drive
View In iTunes
  • $8.91
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Jul 12, 2011
  • Parental Advisory

Customer Ratings

Contemporaries

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