On their new six track EP American Gun leave their alt country beginning in the past, turning back to the rock n roll that members Todd Mathis and Noel Rodgers played prior to American Gun.
It’s been a gradual transition. Since Rodgers joined American Gun after the band’s second album the group has gradually dropped the twang and gone back the deeper roots of lead songwriter Mathis’ prior project Boxing Day. Even in the opening narration the script ends by stating that American Gun is a rock n roll band in “the truest sense of things.” Promised Youth rings with nostalgia as Mathis reminisces on his rock upbringing and his personal flirtation with money and fame. Aggressive may seem like an odd way to describe this album, but that’s exactly what it is. Not in a loud in your face kind of way, but in a confrontational unafraid way. Noel Rodgers guitar solos are more fiery than ever, as Mathis lays it on the line with introspective lyrics. Throughout the album Mathis’ vocals range from gritty and pushed in “The Archivist” to relaxed on “Believe” and “What it Takes.”
These five songs flow together smoothly, unlike early American Gun albums where Mathis’ songs sometimes clashed stylistically with Donald Merckle’s. The new American Gun seems to have settled into a classic rock sound that’s most suitable for everyone in the band. That hasn’t always been the case. And by classic rock, I don’t mean “Classic Rock.” I’m talking about the best rock of yesteryear.
For Promised Youth American Gun returned to work with producer Paul Bodamer with Jangly Records, who co-produced both this album and the previous album Therapy with chief songwriter Todd Mathis. At home in Jangly Records studio in Columbia, SC the group had time to focus more on tones and structure than ever before in the studio, as noted by the crediting of Caroline Guitar Company, who are known for both their aggressive sounding overdrive pedals as well as their unique creative touch. For me the overall sound of Promised Youth doesn’t match the feel of Therapy, but that’s something that quickly goes by the wayside when you get wrapped up in the songs.