Review: The American Scene – Haze

The American Scene hail from Berkeley, CA, and their release of Haze follows their 2012 album, Safe For Now. With this album, you can hear the progress they have made in the last two years and even since their debut, By Way Of Introduction. The band has started to gain more traction with this release, and it is well-deserved.

Right off the bat, title track “Haze” sets the tone for the album. The guitars really add that extra something to the song, and the instrumentation is well-balanced. The song immediately sucks you in and makes you glad that it’s just the beginning of the album with so much more to come. “Royal Blue,” the first single released, follows. The opening lines of, “I was a coward disguised as a lover/Of the beautiful, invisible truth” are some of my favorites from the album. The lyrics are outstanding throughout, but when this song was initially released, it’s what immediately got me hooked, and I just knew I had to listen to this album.

“Nails of Love” and “4th and Broadway” were also released as singles. “Nails of Love” probably has the catchiest chorus out of all of the songs here, and is very enjoyable. “4th and Broadway” seemed to be a very reminiscent song – or maybe that was just my take away from it. Location seems to play a big part in this song (as the title hints), but the Berkeley Marina also earns a mention. You can tell these places really mean something to the band, and I always enjoy songs that give listeners a specific place to picture while listening.

The first half of the album is rounded out by “Dark Creak,” which continues the hazy, dark theme heard often in this album. “What I Could Gather” starts somewhat abruptly to kick off the second half of the album; the tempo seems to increase slightly during this song and it was a good change of pace. “Over To You” sounds like a stream of consciousness wrapped in with great instrumentation. At times, I would get slightly lost in what was being said, mostly because of not being able to understand some words here and there.

“White Widow,” “Drone,” and “Brume” are the last songs of the album. Another one of my favorite, and ironic, lines comes during “White Widow.” The line is, “The truth is, I was never honest before this” and it was immediately a favorite because despite the contradiction and irony, it’s something you can just imagine someone saying in a conversation. The American Scene has fantastic lyricism and this album is a great display of it. “Drone” wasn’t much of a standout track for me, but it wasn’t bad either. Maybe with some more time it will grow on me, but it didn’t add much to the album. The last track, “Brume,” starts off with a great drum beat. The mention of a lack of shadow emphasized the hazy, dark vibe that I quite liked. The ending wasn’t anything super spectacular, but it wrapped up the album nicely.

This effort from The American Scene was a solid one, especially seeing as it had to follow up Safe For Now. To me, the first half of the album was more memorable, boasting some catchier choruses. However, the second half was still good and I look forward to seeing these guys continue to grow and gain the attention they deserve.