Arliss Nancy has been listening to a fair amount of The Hold Steady, Lucero, The Gaslight Anthem and Springsteen if you ask me. And they probably slipped some Wallflowers in there as well when they thought no one was watching.
Six years and countless bottles of bourbon into the band’s career, these Colorado country punks have grown pretty adept at heaping Southern-fried guitar licks on top of piano and organ sounds while the rhythm section keeps up the pace. And over it all, there are Cory Call’s gruff (yet – let’s be honest - kinda limited) vocals laying it all out for the listener. I haven’t heard their previous album but from what I read, it seems as if it lacked cohesion. Listening to “Wild American Runners”, that problem seems to be resolved but as it turns out, they might have made things a bit too cohesive. I have to say, it all sounds pretty good at first. Problem is that after a couple of songs, the album starts to suffer from same-itis. I must’ve heard “Wild American Runners” six or seven times now yet there isn’t a single song that stuck.
There’s a lot to be said for these guys’ heart on sleeve type honesty but you could also argue that a sound of their own wouldn’t hurt things either. Not only do they sound a whole lot like their influences but a little more variety between their own songs would suit them well. Pretty much the only time they mix it up is in the acoustic album closer “Vonnegut”.
I’m kinda left on the fence with this one… on the one hand I feel as if I should like “Wild American Runners” because Arliss Nancy have a lot in common with some of my favorite bands and well, they’re pretty good at what they do. But then why is it taking me so damn long to get into these songs?