The American Autumn - Do You Like Me? Yes/No/Maybe
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: December 1, 2009
Do You Like Me? Yes/No/Maybe asks listeners a simple question about Chicago band The American Autumn. The answer, though, is not as simple because the record has its good and bad moments. While the instrumentals are consistently good throughout, almost all of the songs tend to either drag on too long or blend together. After all, pop-punk music is a genre where differentiating oneself from the pack is no easy feat, and consequently the record may feel like just another generic release. Looking closer, however, Chris Marcanti (vocals/guitar), Dave Schwantes (guitar/piano/backing vocals), Josh Marcanti (bass/acoustic guitar/vocals), and Dane Erbach (drums/tambourine) display genuine skill at crafting catchy tunes, and that skill is likely to improve even more over time.
“Can’t Win ‘Em All” starts off the record with hand claps and upbeat guitar strumming. The verses are memorable and the bouncy chorus features fun lyrics like “I’ll say that I was never wrong/you’ll say you knew it all along.” Much like the rest of the record, though, the vocals are subpar. Next up is “North and Damen,” with a chorus sure to get heads bobbing and a bridge making it impossible to not jump up and down. “This One’s For You” is a prime example of a song dragging on for too long even though the instrumentals are strong. The attempted melodies and harmonies, though, just fall flat, making the song quite forgettable. “You’re So Speechless” showcases a much better vocal performance and it would be an excellent track if it just ended naturally before the three minute mark.
“Bombshells” is the best track on the record, home to a slower, melodic opening that transitions into a fist-pumping chorus while the lyrics revolve around change and disaster. Up next is “She Likes the Radio,” a track that has strong potential but ultimately comes up short because of the way that the chorus falls flat after such catchy verses. The vocals on “Farewell June” leave much to be desired, but instrumentally, the quality is high yet again. Closing out the record is “Sunrise through Tattered Blinds, which enters a new ballad territory for the band. While the chorus does not deliver like it should, this tale of love is still home to good verses and instrumentals. At almost eight minutes long, though, it goes past its expiration date.
So, there are plenty of things that these guys need to improve on, but several of the songs do have their shining moments deserving of recognition. Now, do I like you, The American Autumn? Honestly, I do. As you mature and progress in your musical journey, I expect to like you more. If you can take the time to differentiate yourselves from the overly populated world of pop-punk music on your next release, there will certainly be a great number of people answering “Yes” to the question that this record poses.