BOTTOM LINE Trying to cultivate an edge to their friendly pop sound.
Like so many who have had career-defining hits early in their careers, American Authors is finding it a challenge to move on from “Best Day of My Life.” My li-eye-eye-eye-eye-ee-ife.
However, on the Brooklyn band’s third album “Seasons” (Island), there is a distinctly darker tone. The first single “Deep Water” owes more to Hozier or Lukas Graham than the band’s earlier peppier works. It’s gospel-tinged and bluesy, as singer Zac Barnett worries about sinking like a stone. “Say Amen,” which features the gritty singer-songwriter Billy Raffoul, travels similar musical ground, miles away from the usual American Authors fare.
Nothing wrong with trying something new. But the band does happiness so much better, as the fizzy chorus of “I Wanna Go Out” shows, complete with handclaps and bouncy synths. On the dramatic “Can’t Stop Me Now,” American Authors goes full Killer Queen with its massive chorus and Barnett’s over-the-top delivery riding over fuzzed-out guitar solos and Phil Spector-ish backing vocals.
“Seasons” proves American Authors is a band that can tackle nearly any style. To truly excel, though, the guys may need to pick a lane instead of driving all over the musical map.