San Diego, California is quickly becoming the next Seattle, nurturing
a vibrant emo punk rock movement in its hub. One of the bands
it has fostered is My American Heart who are making their
way into the mainstream. That is the part of mainstream that is
reflective of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Cartel, and
Fall Out Boy. Just beginning to enter their twenties, the
5-piece unit of My American Heart has obtained a following on
the Warped Tour since their debut album The Meaning In Makeup
[was released] in 2005. Their current release Hiding Inside
The Horrible Weather is a composite of emo-tinged punk rock
that has been making waves in the mainstream since the start of
the new millennium. It is particularly favored by the new generation
of rock fans and it still has not run its course according to
My American Heart. It's music that they sound like they are going
to love until the day they die. Doesn't everyone feel that way
about the music they listened to through high school?
Band members Larry Soliman (lead vocals), Jesse Barrera
(guitar/vocals), Austin Hook (bass), Steven Oira (drums),
and Matt Van Gasbeck (guitar/vocals) made an album that
not only reflects their influences from emo punk's echelon but
the band installed a few of their own creations. The lead track
"Boys! Grab Your Guns" flourishes with anthem-coated
stimulants like motivating vocals, booming drum beats, and invigorating
guitar slides. The band's songs lean more towards the hard rock
side of the pendulum than the power pop end, which gives the music
a more obstinate stance. The hard rock pulleys on "Speak
Low If You Speak Love" and the title track are swilled with
a flurry of rhythmic strikes compounded by loaded guitar riffs.
Soliman's vocals heave and retreat with melodic timing to the
chord dynamics. There is lots of team work here in keeping everything
moving in unison.
The band has a knack for pausing and advancing and creating neat
melodic folds which take a good level of finesse. They excel at
it on "The Innocent Letter." The band houses a few dance-punk
numbers like "The Shake" and "Fantasy" which
carry buoyant beats, bubbly guitar swings, and pouty vocal putters.
The band traverses into a mellow acoustic rock stride on "Tired
And Uninspired" tossing in verses of tricking piano keys,
and on the final track "All My Friends" with vestiges
of folksy vocal musings coasting along complacently to the acoustic
rock valves. The band delves into blues rock swoops on "Dangerous"
augmented by emo-drenched vocal hooks and a bluesy-soul organ
lament. The track "Moving On" winds up with vibrating
guitar spins likened to Logan Square and punk rock stubbles
similar to All Time Low.
The hard rock settings for "There Are More Frightening Things"
have a grand scale sound akin to 30 Seconds To Mars. The
music amplifies the lyrics: "Here we go again/ You take your
drugs and you make your money/ Your respect has been sold, oh
yeah/ But you'd rather walk away and pretend you're straight/
But you walk away and you know you're crazy/ All I know is you're
a time bomb and you know you're crazy/ Cuz all I know is that
you're gotten crazy." The lyrics are a rally cry to stop
madness and the music intensifies those words.
So this is what San Diego is breeding - lots of emo punk rock
pupils. My American Heart's current disc is filled with music
for Warped Tour fans and for music fans outside of that sect.
The music works on different levels, whether for people who like
anthem-pulsed tunes or people who like punk rock, emo rock or
some acoustic rock and blues. The band touches on different sides
of their personalities and they do it as a solid unit.
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