Sounding like a mix of The Script, Train and OneRepublic, American Authors are a bunch of optimistic-sounding lads from New York City who are best known for that soundtrack to your life number, Best Day of My Life. Zac Barnett, James Adam Shelley, Dave Rublin and Matt Sanchez have been together since the alternative rock band's inception in 2006, and have recently released their debut album Oh, What A Life, which leaves the listener feeling spurred on with their penchant for uplifting tunes.
The album kicks off with Believer, and is an introduction into the rest of the album's heavy use of mic effects and Barnett's hoarse/raw vocals. For most of the time it feels like he is straining to hit the notes, but there's a weird sort of charisma to that hoarseness, although it gets a little cloying after a while, because every song starts to sound the same.
The banjo-heavy Best Day of My Life is their attempt at a radio-friendly hit and it is definitely their jackpot number, because everything else sounds second-rate after you listen to this album. Still, you can't say that they are to be written off, because they are so enthusiastic in their melodies and expressions that you can't help but want to root for them anyway. Trouble, is a semi-country inspired number that has the same banjo/chorus combination as their winning number, and speaks of jumping headfirst into a relationship that's already known to be trouble.
Home, is an honest track that adds a bit more credibility in the band with its electric guitar solo and crowd-rousing chorus as Barnett earnestly spells out his desperation at trying to find his way back home. Love, is also a simple number but with a similar sounding riff to Best Day and that's my problem with this album. Every song reminds you of the other, and starts getting repetitive, like a broken record. That's not something any band would want its listener to feel, and while they are still new to the scene, it's just a rookie mistake even for a band that's been around from 2006 to make.
American Authors with its grand sounding band name, has a lot to live up to in today's pop/alt-rock scene, and while the foundations are there, it seems they need to start finding their own path and start writing their own story, instead of taking influences.
Track Cuts: Believer, Heart of Stone, Love, Best Day of My Life, Home
Photo credit: Island Records