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Americans in France

Pretzelvania

(Odessa Records; US: 12 May 2009; UK: Import)

The punk trio from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Americans in France, have quite the debut record. First of all, despite its lo-fi grit (recorded on an 8-track reel to reel), the record is well engineered. Everything is articulate and punchy while sitting in its own little space, which isn’t necessarily easy to accomplish within the genre. Singer Josh Lajoie has a limited vocal range; however, the vocals can be dissonant and occasionally toneless in an intentionally challenging way. Frenetic time changes keep the listener off-balance, as in the initial track, “Mr. Fister”. Americans in France are the kind of band who would blow your mind live, and you’d want to buy all its seven inch singles. But over the course of an entire LP, the sound and fury tend to get repetitive.

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