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The Americans'
The Americans EP

Reviewed by Courtney Coveney




The Americans, in a fashion befitting their name, are a vintagey collective of earnest-looking multi-instrumentalists. They present themselves like eighteenth century buskers and they want you to know they've got friends in high places. A lengthy Myspace bio name checks Sean Lennon, Amy Winehouse, and Mark Ronson, while also offering this gem on primary songwriter Charlie Klarsfeld's hard knock life:

“While Klarsfeld’s privileged New York City background...could have limited his lyric depth, he yearns to negotiate his intense romantic sensibility with the superficial world he inhabits with a sense of malaise.”

Let's just say that this reviewer yearns to negotiate an intense distaste for self-important blazon with a sense of biting truthiness. Or something.

Klarsfeld's compositions may hint at the yearning he intimates in his bio, but mostly they establish The Americans as the kind of cloying, nostalgic, show-tunesy outfit that seems destined for teen movie prom scene glory (think modern-day equivalent of Save Ferris in 10 Things I Hate About You). Their self-titled EP's production is far too crisp and clean to resemble the more innovative output of forerunners like Saturday Looks Good to Me, and the arbitrary bits of orchestration never seem to gel with the songs. The piano-pounding ditty “One Night Stand” is the EP's high point, but sounds like the breakout single from Spoon's Radio Disney cousin. It's obvious, even to a listener who hasn't explored the depths of Myspace Music, that The Americans have nothing but the purest intentions toward producing beautiful, danceable songs. They just haven't quite discovered how to compose cohesively. Should they ever choose to forego the player piano hooks and strip their songs down to something more honest, they might approach originality. For now, it's nothing you haven't heard before in far more palatable iterations.


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