Yeah, this is the very same AMERICAN TEARS that released the albums “Branded bad”, “Tear gas” and “Powerhouse” in 1974 to 1977. Then the tears re-emerged in 2018 with the album “Hard core”.
Today, however, AMERICAN TEARS is a one man band. MARK MANGOLD, the keyboard wizard who later received obvious and well deserved fame from the fantastic TOUCH album and also DRIVE, SHE SAID, handles everything here: vocals, keyboards, bass, drums, mixing and production. Phew!
The early albums by the band saw them struggling to find an identity. They were pretty unique by being so keyboard and synth based, especially in the beginning when they were a trio (bass, drums, keys, vocals). When adding CRAIG BROOKS on vocals and guitar for the third album, “Powerhouse”, the band took a more obvious step into being a “normal” band – and then evolved into TOUCH.
Back to today. This new album contains a number of rather lenghty songs. Seven out of the 11 songs are ticking in on between above five minutes and up to more than nine minutes. So, this smells progressive rock, you think? OK, in a way that is true. However, the problem is that the arrangements would have needed more variation, and things are repeating themselves after a while in some songs. It does not help much that we get some nice DEEP PURPLE vibes.
Secondly, the heavily keyboard dominated makes the overall sound very thin. I’d say it feels almost like demos, even. The whole thing turns into a keyboard sound playground, and Mangold is stuck on the same spot. Sometimes the sound gets a bit more modern like in “Love is love” which sounds a 2000’s boy band in euro-techno style. This song shouldn’t have made it onto the album, I say.
As a singer Mark Mangold is good, though. But for the rest of the album there’s an extreme need of a producer and a full band in a regular line-up.