American Aquarium - Things Change

The world really is on fire right now. No matter your political leaning you'd have to agree that it's tough to find things to agree on at this point in history. Even whether Donald Trump is a genius or buffoon. But American Aquarium are a band that have never been anything other than brutally honest. Frontman, bandleader, and only survivor of the previous incarnation of the group, BJ Barham, writes with astonishing frankness about his own life, views, experiences, and it makes for compelling stuff.

Following 2015's Wolves might have been daunting for some, but Barham was left on his own when that version of the group disbanded. It's meant that a fresh set of players have joined the group and given both the music and their frontman a new lease of life. Whether it's 'One Day At A Time', telling of Barham's daily struggle for sobriety, or 'Tough Folks', about the challenges of his upbringing, it's written from the heart.

Tracks like 'I Gave Up The Drinking (Before She Gave Up Me)' have a lightness of touch that somewhat mask the sincerity of its sentiment, and 'When We Were Younger Men' reflects on lost relationships of youth. But it's the blistering opening track 'The World Is On Fire' that leaves the longest impression, its measured fury and considered anger sets the tone of lyrical honesty that is grounded throughout in some of the best Americana music you'll hear in 2018. Say hello to the new band, same as the old band.

Overall

New band, same BJ Barham. Things are all as they should be with AA.

9

out of 10

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