The debut album from Arkansas-based indie rockers the American Princes is, upon first listen, merely a run-of-the-mill offering from another guitar rock outfit doing their best to mimic the sounds of their predecessors.
The American Princes, however, have several things working in their favor that many other bands lack. The Princes treat their listeners to a three-pronged vocal attack by taking turns handling lead singing duties. Additionally, socially aware and at times pseudo-political lyrics help to give this album a defiant and learned feeling. The album does, however, suffer at times from the presence of slightly unpolished vocals and what can only be described as a sense of musical apathy.
The sounds are there, but a sense of detachment from the music pervades several of the songs. The concept of rotating three lead singers, while novel, it sets itself up for the obvious drawback that some are not as cut out to be lead vocalists as others, and this comes through on several tracks. Each vocalist has his own distinct style, with songs ranging from subdued lethargy on some tracks to near frenzy on others.
The disc begins a bit slowly, but picks up steam as it goes, culminating with a final track that is essentially two distinct songs in one. The cut clocks in at nearly seven and a half minutes—significant, as the entire album is a mere 33 minutes in its entirety. Still, despite its shortcomings, the debut offering from the American Princes is an above average, fresh sounding take on guitar rock at a time when derivativeness is all the rage.