American Hi-Fi: Blood & Lemonade

Power pop: still powerful, but popular? We’ll see...

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As the Blink-182 comeback, the Reading and Leeds line-ups and cardiograms on Cheap Trick attest, power pop will never die, and among its finest modern proponents are Boston’s American Hi-Fi.

A band who, for their sins, day-job as back-up musicians for Miley Cyrus and Matchbox Twenty, together they tread the noble line between Fountains Of Wayne geek and Jimmy Eat World emo crunch, with a fair few sackfuls of hard rock riffery lobbed in for ballast.

This fifth album, recorded in singer Stacy Jones’s studio The Deathstar, is certainly a formidable attack weapon. With Brian Nolan pounding beats like he’s single-handedly fighting off an orc invasion, Jamie Arentzen firing off lightning licks and Jones’ vocals flip-flopping between indie-rich and geek-nasal, the likes of Wake Up and the single Allison detonate with the megatonnage of a dozen Fall Out Boys while maintaining a melodic indie rock finesse, and Amnesia rolls over you like a rolling stock Sonisphere, parping a glittery pop chorus.

Jones bears the requisite quotient of lovelorn angst through Carry The Sorrow and the Elliott Smith-gone-Whitesnake No Ordinary Life – remember, romantic constancy is emo Kryptonite – but there’s enough brittle punch to Blood & Lemonade to freshen even the stuffiest cliché.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.