The American Dead: Hard Luck & Hangovers [The Durty Spurs, 2010]
6.3 out of 10.0
The debut album from Madison, Wisconsin’s The American Dead encompasses a wide range of sounds. Reminiscent of punk and rockabilly scene’s 22 Jacks and Hot Water Music mixed with the belligerent lyricism of country artists gone by and Murder by Death,with songs about a hanging, “running from ol’ Johnny Law,” and being “whiskey drunk,” this is a bit of a throwback to 1950’s Nashville.
The myriad of influences can be heard throughout the album from the more country tunes like “Broken Teeth Blues” and “Goner” which feature guitarist/vocalist Luke Severson on harmonica and the languid ballad “Tranwreck,” featuring the vocals of Nellie Wilson from Nellie Wilson and the Hellhound Honeys, to the more Americana-Rock side of things with tracks such as, “Long Way Back Home.”
Recorded and produced by the band’s bassist Jesse Gantz with a minimal touch compared with other acts of the same style. The album shows off the band’s raw vocals and lead guitar work by Severson along with a tight percussion pocket created by Gantz and drummer Jesse Inglold. The higher pitched whine of Severson’s backing vocals with the more monotonous voice of lead singer Aaron Inglold makes for an odd, but incredibly complementing sound. They are much more powerful together then they are apart, especially shown in the chorus’ of “Broken Teeth Blues” and “Take the Throne.”
For a band that is just beginning this is a good start. Coming from a town whose music scene thrives on the old school re-hashed punk of the early 90’s this is a breath of fresh air. Despite its lack of complete originality the album is catchy in spots and its lyrics creative and plays almost as well recorded as it does live. The bottom line is what you get from The American Dead is a fun, boot stomping good “whiskey drunk” time.
– Long Way Back Home
– South Bound
– Take the Throne