Album Review: American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi Acoustic

For their fifteenth birthday, Boston pop rock outfit American Hi-Fi have released an acoustic version of their popular 2001 self-titled debut.

Most acoustic renditions tend to lose their energy and become a sombre affair. To combat this, the band kept this revision as upbeat as the original without swaying from its purpose, giving a country-esque feel most prominent through ‘Surround’ and ‘Flavour Of The Week’.

This composition bears heavy, psychedelic and calming undertones. In ‘My Only Enemy,’ such a relaxed feel is made apparent with a mix of upbeat riffs and low piano notes, which soon pick up speed and transform into a light, happy but nonetheless soothing tone.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnxryRFEcF4&w=100&h=480]

Lyrically, the album follows a lot of the punk rock stereotypes, such as ‘I’m A Fool’s tale of unrequited love. The acoustic rendition bears some small and simple modifications to its original, but it’s a welcome adjustment for veteran and new fans alike – they’ve genuinely put a lot of effort into this edition.

The acoustic collection is just as vocally diverse as its ancestor. ‘Another Perfect Day’, for example, features Kay Hanley’s vocals harmonising perfectly with songwriter and frontman Stacy Jones’. There’s also the frequent appearance of relaxing drum work throughout ‘Don’t Wait For The Sun’ and ‘Another Perfect Day.’ On songs such as ‘Safer On The Outside’ and ‘Wall Of Sound,’ vocal overlays and echoing screams provide an intense layer to counter the stripped-down tone.

This version is cleverly crafted with keen attention to subtle adjustments. It’s well worth the listen purely for the quality of their instrumentals that have stood the test of 15 years. The acoustics of this album varies a great deal compared to the original but it’s still a release to be excited for none the less. In the future, people will look back on the original album and remember that there is an acoustic rendition which is just as good, if not better than the original. On paper, it seems difficult to portray their punk roots in an acoustic environment, but it’s testament to their talents that they’ve pulled this off – a charming way to celebrate American Hi-Fi’s birthday.

4/5

’American Hi-Fi Acoustic’ by American Hi-Fi is released on 29th April via Rude Records.

American Hi-Fi links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Beth Lawson (@BethShoutSound)

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