American Standards - Anti-Melody

Review by Shannon Shumaker

American Standards are merging chaotic, hard-hitting sounds with vulnerable and rather serious subject matter on their new album, Anti-Melody. Wasting no time getting right down to it with their explosive opener, these eight songs clock in at barely twenty-five minutes, but will easily make their mark.

Opening track, “Writers Block Party” is dirty and gritty, carried by strong guitar work, intricate drumming and powerful vocals. Although things lose force a little during the spoken word part, “Writers Block Party” is a strong opener that will get listeners ready for the rest of the album. Tempo and mood changes are executed with ease before transitioning into the dark and looming, “Carpe Diem, Tomorrow.” This song touches on something that many people don’t really think about - the desire to change but fear to do anything about it. Musically, this song is just as strong as the opener, but the lyrics are what really drive things home. "Time marches on to early graves that haven't been dug/I've got the shovel but what I lack is motivation," is repeated throughout the song, making for a hopeless and fearful track.

Contrasting well with the first two songs is the more melodic “Church Burner,” which then makes for an easy transition into “Bartenders Without Wings.” Musically, this fourth song is absolutely stunning, showcasing a whole new side to American Standards, but the vocals unfortunately don’t mesh with the instrumentals as well as one would like. The lyrics thankfully make up for this though, as vocalist Brandon Kellum deals with the pain of trying to understand the motivations of others in order to better himself.

“Danger Music #9” finds American Standards at their best. Flawless and fast paced guitar work coupled with chaotic and rage fueled vocals spearhead this song which touches on a very sensitive subject for the band - the corruption of the healthcare system. “Cancer Eater” then follows suit with frantic guitar work.

The only downside in these similar sounding songs is that sometimes, they tend to blend together, making one hard to distinguish from another. Although “Bartenders Without Wings” might feel a little rocky, it also provides some much needed diversity. Thankfully, the strengths on this release easily outweigh its weaknesses, though. The power and emotion behind the vocals and the well thought out and vulnerable subject matter coupled with chaotic instrumentals makes for a sound that is unique to American Standards. The band manages to tackle some really relevant and personal issues on this release, but do so without sacrificing their sound.

Rating: 3.5/5

Listen to "Danger Music #9"