American Werewolf Academy – Out Of Place All The Time
Goddam these songs. Just when you think you’ve seen too many straight-up powerpop bands or heard enough Guided By Voices classics getting bent outta shape, that’s when the fuckers getcha. American Werewolf Academy’s hooks will tear into your flesh and pull you apart, Hellraiser style, and you won’t even realise they’re doing so til it’s too late.
Take Freebeard – the bass-driven riff bounces pleasantly enough until the chorus, whereupon the sense of lift sends the song spiralling into euphoria. Singer Aaron Thedford is their secret weapon, with his Brian Fallon-esque tones injecting a weathered cool into the more worldly-wise numbers, while during peppier moments, he sounds uncannily like Robert Pollard (Young Wild Free is practically a paean to Isolation Drills). Surrounded by chunky chords and heroic melodies, he makes plain ol’ pop songs seem like the only thing you’ll ever need. No fancy ideas necessary: Out Of Place All The Time is killer.