Something entirely different from New American Hustle this time around. The audio style undoubtedly matches the implications of the title – distortion and high energy guitars and drums storm through, alongside a series of aptly expressive vocals.
You can still detect that NAH songwriting style in these melodic developments, the weight of the opening song (for example) is juxtaposed by a certain melodic optimism and colorful riffs. Then things switch gears at about the half-way point.
The track is quite epic to turn up loud and escape into, and it utilizes contrast brilliantly – the female vocal introduces a more indie-rock or even pop-rock moment, the male vocal leans towards metal. Already this new direction is working well.
The meeting between gentler melodies and heavy riffs continues throughout, as does this back and forth between the two opposing yet communicating vocals. The title-track furthers the vibe, injecting a hit of blues-rock, complete with guitar solos, and holding attention for its return dialogue between the two characters.
Meaning Of Nothing then adopts the uplifting vibrancy of a blues-rock instrumental, and lets this run for a significant time before returning to a gritty, raspy vocal-line to keep things interesting.
In true NAH fashion, there’s a well-placed curve-ball on this album, the finger-picked and breathy, beautiful Crows Sleep – perhaps a personal favorite from the virtual band to date. A stunning piece, poetic and emotively powerful, progressing to bring in a thick rhythm and a powerfully immersive moment of passion. Brilliant. Undoubtedly one for repeat plays.
Stone Age Cowboy kicks back to the classic rock and metal sound of a simpler time. Quiet vocals accompany this, contrast at work again, feeling a little Korn-like with a dash of Queens Of The Stone Age. Heavy riff work sounds superb, stylish and masterfully performed.
It’s also important to note that, as always, the lyrics throughout this album take more than a single glance to try to contemplate the writing process. There’s poetry and depth, as well as poignant reflections – perhaps on contemporary life and topical issues. It’s vague enough to get onboard with and to be made your own, original enough to consistently appeal.
The soaring guitar sound leads again for a dark and hypnotic Death Walks On High Heels. A new vocal, quiet and intriguing, and a central concept that’s equally captivating.
Then we get the return of the acoustic guitar for a timely moment of calm and intimacy as Gemini Star Sister brings things to a memorable finish. Great rhythm, a raw and genuine sound, another stand-out melody and delivery, all progressing into a funky and industrial soundscape that’s immediately energizing. The arrangement of these fragments of melody is also notably refreshing – the song becomes unpredictable, yet still manages to resolve and satisfy. A strong way to go out.
At this point, the New American Hustle catalogue of original music is immense, and showing no signs of slowing down. Superb production and creative production meets with effective songwriting across the board, making for a series of refreshing playlists for any and all situations. This project in particular seems fit to accompany the angst and uncertainty, the isolated intensity, of 2020. Quite possibly a personal favorite from the band so far.