released August 31st, 2010

from the album - Wild & Young

from all music


Playing raucous, strutting hard rock with a classic sense of style and a contemporary sweat and swagger, American Bang is a four-piece band from Nashville whose existence proves there's still room for rock in the world's capital of country music. American Bang was formed in mid-2005 by members of two busted Nashville rock acts. Lead guitarist Ben Brown and drummer Neil Mason had worked with Llama, who released an album for MCA in 2001 that largely fell on deaf ears, while lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jaren Johnston played drums with the Kicks, who released an album for TVT in 2004 before splitting up. Johnston had been writing songs after the collapse of the Kicks, and invited longtime friends Brown and Mason to help him put them into shape; teaming up with bassist Kelby Ray, the four friends began playing Nashville rock clubs as Bang Bang Bang, and were packing 300-capacity venues within months of their debut. By the end of 2005, Bang Bang Bang had self-released its first album, I Shot the King, and within a year the guys were sharing stages with acts as diverse as O.A.R., Shooter Jennings, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In 2006, Bang Bang Bang signed a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records; one year later, the band began working on its first album for the label. Before the project was completed, though, the group learned that another band was already recording under the name Bang Bang Bang, and in August 2007 the bandmates announced they would now be known as American Bang. The group released an EP called Move to the Music in October 2007 and continued working on a full album, which eventually arrived in 2010 under the band's new partnership with Reprise.

Album Review

Hailing from Nashville, American Bang are clearly aspiring lifers steeped in tradition but they’re hardly part of the Music City Mafia. No country stars they: they’re styled as blue-collar, middle-American hard rockers, at least when the tempos are revved up and they’re doing the “Whiskey Walk.” When things slow down - and not even all the way down to a ballad, just enough for a mid-tempo wannabe anthem — it becomes clear that they’re the first of what is likely to be many attempts to ride the coattails of Kings of Leon, substituting earthbound barroom rock for KOL’s Americana pretensions and U2 aspirations. Thanks to veteran producer Bob Rock, the group is slickly effective - he provides a brick wall of sound that almost camouflages Jaren Johnston’s affected drawl, he gives those echoey arena-fillers definition — but the band sounds most believable at its sleaziest and stupidest, knocking out “Hurt Like Hell,” the slow blues strut “Wouldn’t Want To Be You” and that absurd “Whiskey Walk,” the very numbers that have not a shred of KOL’s wardrobe and not a chance of getting the crossover audience the band desperately craves.

Track Listing

1 Whiskey Walk
2 Wild & Young
3 Rewind
4 Angels
5 She Don't Cry No More
6 Hurts Like Hell
7 All We Know
8 Wouldn't Want To Be You
9 A Man Can Change
10 Other Side Of You
11 Roll On