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Music: American Authors underwhelm but Thirty Seconds to Mars and The War on Drugs albums impress

American Authors – Oh, What a Life

American Authors

The American Authors’ first album Oh, What a Life suffers from a lack of originality seen by all too many so-called breakthrough American bands. With two very successful singles already under their belt, the young band look poised to make 2014 their year but the album, which was released on Monday, is about as predictable as they come.

The album begins with Believer, the first single, and probably the strongest song on the record. The catchy chorus mixed with the incredibly uplifting message makes for an instant classic but things only go downhill from here. Almost every song on the album is a mid-tempo, generic pop tune. This could have been avoided had they changed it up a bit, but they don’t. American Authors don’t have a distinct sound or vocalist, which makes their songs sound even more similar.

There is no substance or emotion here, and far too much production on the vocals. Probably the best thing about Oh, What a Life is how inoffensive and harmless it is. The positive lyrics in every song are something rarely seen. There’s nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering about Oh, What a Life, but being the band’s first full-length album, there’s plenty of reasons to think that their story is still not yet written.

Thirty Seconds to Mars – LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS

Thirty Seconds to Mars

Thirty Seconds to Mars have released an impressive new album.

LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS, the fourth album by American rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars, hits all the right notes and is a sure-fire hit.

Everything Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto does turns to gold. He’s now an Oscar-winning actor and a prolific musician.

Elevated to the position of international stars as a result of their 2009 album This Is War, their 2013 sequel LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS, which was released on Monday, is sure to please fans just as much. LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS is just as ambitious as This Is War, but it’s ambitious in a different way.

The huge, heavy sounding instruments and effects are gone, replaced by a more electronic sound. The band is no longer afraid to dabble with disco. There isn’t as much attention on guitar riffs and there’s a greater focus on Leto’s intense vocals. Tracks like City Of Angels and Up In The Air are among the best the band has made, with their massive, choir-like choruses.

With shorter songs and more restrained production it could be argued it lacks the epic quality of its predecessor This is War, and overall it is weaker for it. Maybe next time they’ll return to the bigger is better ethos that has served them so well in past. All in all, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS is yet another stepping-stone to greatness for Leto and his band.

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs have come into their own with this album.

The War on Drugs have come into their own with this album.

Philadelphia-based rock outfit The War on Drugs have been on the scene since 2008 but come into their own with their new album Lost in the Dream.

Lost in the Dream, which was released on Monday, is the band’s third album and represents the most fully realized statement from the group thus far, with all ten songs gelling together with a sense of purpose.

The War on Drugs really have come into their own with their sound on this, their latest release. Starting with the simple, but epic Under the Pressure, songwriter Adam Granduciel offers up song after song of restrained yet engaging rock.

Red Eyes, the first single from Lost in the Dream might be the band’s melancholy masterpiece. Full of longing and bristling with the tension of driving acoustics, it’s a heart-rending record. The songs are expansive, regardless of their tone, with the ten tunes sprawling out into almost an hour-long running time, leaving no stone unturned in their production and deceptively simple presentation.

Lost in the Dream is a successful collection of dreamy vibes and shifting moods and stands easily as the band’s finest release so far.

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