American Princes: 'Auditorium'

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American Princes 300 i
Rett Peek
American Princes 300
Rett Peek

A trio of guitarists powers Little Rock, Ark.-based band American Princes — a presence made immediately known on the group's fourth full-length record, Other People. The band's catchy rock sound is built on a thick bed of layered electric guitars in swirling stereo. With competing vocalists Collins Kilgore, David Slade, and William Boyd taking turns singing lead and the constantly battling instruments, the sound is more chaotic than that of your average rock group, but it all seems to work with the band's on-edge energy.

"We wanted to be able to have a really full sound," Slade explains of the multiple guitars. "Instead of having a rhythm guitar bang out some chords and then a lead guitar play one hook, we are trending more towards many guitars doing less, individually, while contributing to a common theme." Kilgore adds, "restraint is key." However, when put together, the sound is huge.

Other People's opening track, "Auditorium" offers multiple arpeggiated lead lines attacking simultaneously, creating a wall of crunchy guitars. This serves as a melodic backdrop for Kilgore's perhaps ironically smooth lyrics, "Love don't mean nothing." Following that, "Son Of California" sets Slade's howl against colliding guitar jabs, pitting left speaker against right. When listening with headphones, it's as if there is a war going on between your ears — one whose jittery rock sound causes head bobbing and mild disorientation equally.

But it isn't all a barrage. In fact, some of the album's best tracks are its catchier, more straightforward rock songs. "Still Not Sick of You" has an emo-punk feel, possibly due to Boyd's slightly nasally, classic emo-voice sound — but in a good way. The rolling strum of an acoustic guitar on "Don't Ever Promise" is a refreshing departure, lending the song an Americana style more fitting with the group's Arkansas home. That's not to say the song doesn't rock. The blazing guitars return for the track's rousing chorus, making it entirely anthemic.

American Princes just completed a tour with Northern State and plan to do more touring here and in Europe before the year is out. The group is currently writing new material as well as working out remixes from Other People.

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