The catchy hooks, the danceable rock anthems, and the dominating vocalist - though My American Heart
lacks originality in an already overcrowded pop rock scene, the well crafted and catchy melodic songs make for a memorable follow-up album from the San Diego outfit. With an average age of 20 years old, the band show an impressive grasp of the music they play at such a young age, something evidently captured from four years of recording, writing, touring and promoting their debut album, The Meaning in Makeup
, recorded roughly between the band members 16 to 18th birthdays. With new experience on their side, the follow up Hiding Inside The Horrible Weather
, a metaphor that is open for interpretation (sources have said it stands for the beauty inside everything, others have said it represents some of the events of their first few years of touring), attempts to capture a more mature sound while maintaining the same sing-a-long pop rock that kept their debut afloat.
The band is undeniably led by the strong vocal presence of Larry Solimon, who overshadows the efforts of the band, and it's his voice ultimately that makes or breaks the songs. While the two guitarists, Jesse Barrera and Matt VanGasbeck, do compliment the songs well, they are far from outstanding at their instruments, often settling with the same simple chords and song structures. The same applies to the drummer, Steven Oira, who plays his instrument to an up-to-par level and nothing more. Dustin Hook's, the bassist, moments in the record are few and far between and many of the songs will leave you questioning if he even showed up to the recording because quite frankly, for most of the record, he's non-existent. The band aren't as technically proficient as some of the other acts out there today but considering the pop rock scene they are involved in, they fit in relatively well with the competition. They don't over-do it but at the same time they leave you aching for that one step further, to separate them from the rest.
The luring verse of Speak Low if You Speak Love
, leads the listener into the bouncy, fast-paced, and most importantly, catchy typical pop rock chorus, equally matched by the sing-a-long arena rock The Innocent Letter
and the more alternative, slowed down title track Hiding Inside The Horrible Weather
. However, the strongest tracks on the album can be found in three of the first four songs, Boys! Grab Your Guns
, The Shake (Awful Feeling)
, and Tired and Uninspired
. Boys! Grab Your Guns
is a fun, danceable song that roots itself firmly as the most pop rock oriented song, relying on it's extremely catchy chorus and hook.
Boys, grab your guns
It's all in good fun
We're making 'em run
Making 'em run
Sure. It's not deep, it's not clever, and it's not witty but god damn it's memorable and that's exactly what the band sets out to do. The Shake (Awful Feeling)
is the single off the album and performs the job wonderfully, creating a simple, radio-friendly rock song that definitely has big hit potential. The song once again is mainly based around the incredibly memorable chorus that lifts the song from good to great. Tired and Uninspired
showcases Solimon's finest vocals on the album, displaying the voice that was undoubtedly made for this kind of music. The song takes a step back from the faster paced beginning of the album and relieves the listener with the slower, emotional serenade to a revitalising love. The quality of the album reaches a point of turbulence towards the end of the album, as songs like Dangerous
and Moving On
are boring, in regard to the aforementioned, and begin to sound repetitive and weak, in regard to the latter. Fantasy
shows no improvement from Moving on
and All My Friends
ends the album on an acoustic note, though poorly done, neglecting to take advantage of the strong vocal ability Solimon is capable of.
The album sets out to create a radio-friendly and memorable sophomore release and succeeds in the first half of the album, managing to produce arena rock, a ballad, and catchy songs that are unfortunately let down by the weak ending of the album. A solid effort from the 5-piece youngsters that leaves room for improvement on their next release. It's not original, it's not innovative, it's not musically complex, but these guys have the potential to master the art of creating memorable songs.