As adolescent boys stuck in the bearded bodies of twenty-somethings, the American Autumn is able to straddle both sides of a very tricky spectrum. They play power pop-punk, a genre of music that typically appeals to teeny-boppers, tinted (or jaded) with the sort of mandatory maturity that haunts all young adults. Whether they have made some pseudo-intellectual decision to do so or it’s com- pletely subconscious, everything that the American Autumn does is, at once, about both innocence and experience. This has become only more evident on their latest release Do You Like Me? Yes/No/Maybe.
A song like “This One’s For You”, for example, is filled with giddy excitement about “making it big,” but seems to recognize the dull, adult reality: that, even if they don’t become rock stars, they will have some special stories to tell. When Chris Marcanti sings, “So run like hell / and don’t look back / What are you so afraid of? / Of what or who we will become?”, his voice is neither a wail nor a whine, but is genuinely his. Combined with forceful roar of brother Josh Marcan- ti’s bass and guitarist Dave Schwantes’ slinkly leads, all as drummer Dane Erbach drives these songs in dynamic directions, the message of this song becomes a kind of manifesto for the American Autumn: having fun and playing music with friends is the ends, not the means.
On stage, the American Autumn approaches their music with seriousness and some version of professionalism. Off stage, though, these bandmates are buddies, making immature jabs at one another and referencing Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia religiously. They are proud of their music, its passion and honesty, the uncontrived catchiness of each song and snapshots that they capture, the way their songs swoop and soar and recklessly swerve. But, at a bare minimum, the American Autumn is proud that they can, at once, express their lingering adolescence in songs that are sincere, energetic, and grown-up.