American Authors - Oh, What A Life (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
AMERICAN Authors have already enjoyed one gargantuan hit in the form of Best Day of My Life and that should enable them to win plenty of fans to their album, Oh, What A Life.
That track is already confirmed RIAA Gold in the US and is as anthemic as they come for the Brooklyn-based outfit – complete with whoo oh oh oh ah oh chorus and sweeping chant of “woo hoo, this is gonna be the best day of my life”. It’s impossible not to be swept along in its cheerfulness.
But the big question is whether that’s all this outfit has to offer… and the answer is ‘no’. Oh, What A Life is chock full of similarly ear-pleasing rock-pop numbers that are high on sing-along elements and feel-good value.
The track that immediately follows that single, for instance, is another crowd-pleaser, steeped in catchy melodies and hooks and a belting chorus. This one’s about a young man going out to make his own luck and is all about empowerment. Again, there’s a big chorus, pleasing guitar and mandolin licks and just an overall sense of enjoyment.
True, the album is largely free of risk-taking. It’s primed to sweep the mainstream with some elements that fly dangerously close to boy band elements.
But there’s also a grit that’s welcome, and that makes them a little more rock than pop, and an uncanny ability to deliver tracks that instantly enter your sub-conscious and refuse to budge. It’s a simple approach, maybe, but it’s an effective one and when you’re having this much fun listening, who cares?
Trouble is another of those bouncy tracks… it begins as if it’s going to be a ballad but then drops in some cute banjo licks (a la Mumford & Sons) and proceeds to deliver another upbeat charmer.
Hit It is a riot of boisterous energy, as is Home (a true song to make your mother and wife proud that showcases their all-American wholesome values), while Love has that anthemic slow-build quality that is as infectious as hell (despite trading on some familiar melodic arrangements).
And while the occasional track does, indeed, feel like it’s flying on auto-pilot and is content to wallow in American Authors’ signature sound (step forward Heart of Stone and Ghost late on), they still are naggingly catchy and toe-tapping fun.
Title track and album closer Oh, What A Life, meanwhile, leans towards the epic, with a fiddle-strewn intro and a slow-build approach that genuinely impresses before the song bursts into typically upbeat (and yes, euphoric) life. Think Green Day mixed with Blink-182, Mumford & Sons and Scouting For Girls.
You can’t help but warm to this album.
Download picks: Best Day, Luck, Trouble, Love, Oh, What A Life, Believer