American Wrestlers gave us no new material in the space between the release of their debut self-titled album in 2014, and this month. But finally their second studio album is here and we’re going to give you the highlights of Goodbye Terrible Youth.
The opening track of the album shows the band’s cultural awareness and knowledge of Britain, which is hardly surprising given lead singer Gary McClure was born in Scotland and brought up in Manchester before moving to Missouri just two years ago.
The tune’s fast-paced, but gentle, guitar riffs and catchy keyboard tune make for an irresistible start to the album. And McClure’s excellent voice makes the song, which is a brilliant indie throwback to 2005, even more genuinely loveable.
The third track on the album starts off as a real feel-good tune and the keys once again steal the show. You can’t help but tap your feet and nod along to it.
It’s a breath of fresh air to the music scene and is a massive injection of passion and optimism.
But it tails off a bit in the last minute-and-a-half as it strangely contrasts starkly with the beginning and gets a bit darker. I really admired the confidence and swagger that kick-started the tune but it ends a bit grungy and doesn’t really work.
It could have been a modern great.
The sixth song on the album, which is also the longest (4:18), sees the band get back into their groove. McClure’s voice is once again on top form and the guitars are simple but unbelievably satisfying.
The song arguably highlights Primal Scream as one of the band’s influences; really catchy rock music. But what lets American Wrestlers down here is the chorus is an anti-climax. The verses build up and it’s about to blow, but then it slows down again. One of the few disappointments in this well-made track.
This is the final track on the album, and its peacefulness and reflectiveness make it perfect for seeing the record out.
This acoustic tune strips everything back and reverts to basics in a Ben Howard-Bon Iver cross-breed style. But it’s not just the music that make this one – McClure’s vocals are superb once more. The line: “I can’t remember the words; just the pictures,” is so very fitting. This song doesn’t necessarily need an abundance of intricate lyrics because the music generates such excellent imagery and McClure’s voice just needs to complement that, which it does.
It’s the kind of song you’d listen to on a freezing, foggy winter’s morning walking your bulldog in a local field. It’s just calm and the album finishes with serenity.
On the whole, this is a very good album. And at times, it’s very easy to forget the band are actually American because the tunes have so many similarities with typical British indie music. But at the same time, it mixes things up and is so easy on the ears. Its softness is just irresistible.
I can’t recommend this album enough and I think we’ll be hearing much more from American Wrestlers in the coming months.
All tracks from this article can be found here.
By Ryan Petterson