Review by Shannon Shumaker
The American Scene’s Haze is everything that an indie-rock album should be and more. Following up their well-received 2012 release Safe For Now, The American Scene breaks away from the more emo/punk sound that they originally set with a more mellow and hypnotizing haziness (hence the album’s title) while still sticking to their roots. In fact, the great thing about Haze is that it can easily appeal to a wide audience, from fans of The American Scene’s older material to newer listeners. Haze is a winner for both fans of indie-rock acts such as Minus The Bear or Two Door Cinema Club to fans of punk acts like Balance And Composure. Haze is versatile and different all while still sounding very much like The American Scene. They’re not trying to be something that they’re not, and what more could you want from this great release?
The first track,“Haze,” sets the mood for the entire album, which makes sense considering that it is the record’s title track. “Haze” is both melodic and hypnotizing, and by the time the song fades out, I’m more than excited to see what The American Scene bring to the table with this release.
The vocals throughout the entirety of Haze are incredibly strong and mesh perfectly with the overall hypnotizing and mellow tone of the record, but it would be a crime to mention the vocal work without complimenting the gorgeous and sometimes intricate bass lines as well as the incredible guitar work on this album. Overall, Haze is an incredibly well-rounded record. Not one instrument or member outshines the other, and the same can be said about the tracks on the album as well. While each song is strong in its own aspect, there aren't any weak points - Haze is absolutely consistent. The only downside with that is that there aren't any definitive high points and it took me a couple of listens to really choose a favorite song on the album, but that being said, Haze is just an easy listen. The mellow tone of the record is relaxing and inviting and it’s hard to find any flaws in it.
Another great thing about Haze is the way that The American Scene effortlessly transition from one song to the next, making the album flow amazingly. Upbeat and even poppy tracks like “Nails Of Love” and “4th and Broadway” flow easily into slower, more haunting songs like “Dark Creak” without even missing a beat, and if that isn't a testament to The American Scene’s phenomenal songwriting abilities, then I don’t know what is.
It may be easy to get lost in the beautiful melodies and sweeping guitar work in Haze, but overall The American Scene’s second full-length album is an amazing listen. They manage to pull this release off flawlessly and effortlessly, making the album sound easy while still keeping your attention. Haze is just that - hazy, smooth and hypnotizing.
Listen to "Nails Of Love"