ARTIST: American Standards
ALBUM NAME: ‘Anti-Melody’
RELEASE DATE: October 2017
COUNTRY: United States
CITY: Phoenix, AZ
Vocals- Brandon Kellum
Bass- Steven Mandell
Drums- Mitch Hosier
Guitar- Corey Skowronski
American standards- when reflecting on these 2 words, it sounds like big shoes to fill, shoes which this band reigning from Phoenix USA rises to the occasion to meet with ease. The band who has described their sound as chaotic/metal-core/noise/punk has just released their 4th and possibly most influential album this past April, entitled “Anti-Melody” which once I had listened to thoroughly, I totally understood the meaning of.
When initially taking on this review I had no preconceived notions of connecting to the material at all being a more Bob Dylan girl myself, rather expecting to have the occasional head bang and mild enjoyment of the blending together of so many different musical sounds. This notion however was quickly burnt to cinders.
My first experience of the album played out as follows: excited to get going on this very well-known and successful bands material, I decided ‘first thing in the morning, this has to be it”. Fresh… or rather not so freshly woken from a broken night’s sleep, I grabbed my laptop, placed it on my lap, pulled the covers over my knees and hit play. What followed next was a complete surprise. Instruments ferociously pounding, vocals screaming out at me, I sent my laptop flying. NOW they had not only my attention but had successfully awoken my entire body.
Body buzzing with adrenaline, I repositioned myself, my 2 bull terriers even curious as to what they would hear next and awaited with anticipation for the next track to play. Without further ado the next track – ironically “Carpe Diem, tomorrow” comes bursting into my senses. The lyrics “Don’t stand still, keep moving” pounding in my head, drums, guitars and vocals all amalgamating together to create the most perfect chaos I had yet to encounter. I am suddenly filled with the most glorious rage, ready to pull down my curtains and shake my shower rails to the core, “I am woman, hear me roar” is the feeling I get in the pit of my belly. I felt as independent as the band itself when they decided to go back to being an independent band after 2 years of being with Victory Records.
Once I have managed to mildly calm myself down, I readied myself to dive into the song that can possibly be considered the heart of this album “Cancer eater”. The members of this uniquely talented band are no stranger to loss, having lost one of their founding members to suicide shortly after scheduling recording time at Kingsize Studio in LA. This unfortunately was not the end of this bout of loss, soon after this, lead vocalist Brandon Kellum lost his father unexpectedly to cancer and thus we get back to how this song, as well as this album was sprung to life. As a means of coping with and attempting to make sense of these heartaches and what was going on in the world around them, the band used their music as a cathartic tool, their own version of therapy. This… I could relate to, after all music has always been my, as I’m sure many others, go to for navigating this mad thing called life.
Listening to the lyrics of “Cancer eater- I can’t be tough as nails, with this paper skin and organs that fail.” my own memories of loss were being triggered. Feelings of anger, confusion and disarray. Emotions such as these which just so happen to feel a lot more real than those we usually hear from the general, loving songs of loss. On this I commend the band, the raw, realness at which they communicate their experiences on life and on grief, as well as the utter originality of their sound- a genre in its own.
This album is an absolute must for die-hard fans and new comers like me. Quoting lead vocalist “At its core Anti-Melody is centred around the universal theme of separation on many levels.” -Brandon Kellum. A very welcome change of tone with a more personal touch than the bands previous specifically socio-political fuelled direction. After all is said and done, each song dissected, each melody and sound broken down, I think to myself “How is this even possible that something so crazy, so messy, so nonsensical can speak so deeply to me?”- This I come to realise, this dark, erratic music is life.
Reviewed by: Jessie Berndt
Shots fired by: American Standards
Date: October 2017
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