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Americans In France "Crawling" Reviewed

What to make of Americans in France? From their simplistic sing-songy, silly, and fuzzy opener “Shopping Cart,” to the uneasy droning of “The Mingler,” Americans in France’s new album Crawling is a raw and meandering tour through adolescent-fueled art punk. Though the occasional surfer vibe is thrown in, any wanderings into that sort of easy listening are quickly diverted with off-key, ennui-oozing, and punky vocals that prevent you from resting on your laurels. Both musically and lyrically, Americans in France do not want their listeners to get too comfortable.

 Vocals are provided by guitarist Josh Lajoie, who possesses both an angry bark and a youthful sing-along, whiny voice, and drummer Casey Cook, who stays more in the realm of shoegazing boredom. The lyrics are appropriately artsy and rebellious. Though it’s hard to give a typical lyrical example of a band whose opening track is a metaphorical ode to a shopping cart, the sort of youthful angst and discontent that Americans in France build upon is fairly represented when they sing, “You’re ambition is embarrassing/You’re a networking jerk./You’re not a business man/You don’t have a business plan/And/Success can suck it (x3)” Another one that I found quite memorable was when Lajoie sings wistfully and contemptibly, “My mom lives many miles from here./She had eight kids, we were reindeer./By the time I came around she was over it/Pretty sure I was an accident (x4).” You get the idea. It’s to the point, society-deriding discontent.

 And it’s quite good. What on my first listen had me gagging, I now appreciate for its simplistic yet creative compositions, which switch rhythm frequently and jump between genres, and its childish but poignant lyrics. What was once annoying is now endearing. Americans in France deserve credit for their ambitious take on experimental pop-punk with Crawling, an album that is worth a look.  

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