Last week I talked about being jaded and expecting bands to eventually trip up, and how Have Gun was defying those odds. I thought I’d stick with that theme and talk about Arliss Nancy and their new album, Wild American Runners.
The music industry hasn’t been incredibly kind to these kids from the great state of Colorado. They released their first two albums for free on Death From Above Records before signing to Suburban Home Records for the release of their third album, Simple Machines. Suburban Home promptly closed it’s doors, leaving a ridiculously great album without out any US distribution. Rather than tucking their tails and getting day jobs, the boys pushed forward. All the while their internet buzz kept gaining momentum, and by the point Wild American Runners hit American ears, kids were already shedding former allegiances and donning Arliss Nancy tshirts (I literally own three) at the big shows.
Arliss Nancy’s sound is basically the foundation of what you might call the ninebullets wheelhouse. It’s a pretty simple formula; big guitars, sad songs created because you fucked up one night after too many beers and a properly mistreated set of vocal chords delivering them. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity, like food, the simpler a song is, the easier it is to see and focus on the weakness. With that said, Arliss Nancy have rarely fucked up over their career, and Wild American Runners is no exception.
Wild American Runners is a collection of twelve songs with an over-arching theme of desperation, disappointment and uncertainty. And while you might say there is nothing new about that, I would argue that no one has done it this well since Lucero and Two Cow had to worry about where they would sleep or eat the next night.
The album closes with “Vonnegut”, a song that perfectly captures everything that this 40 minute album offers you in a simple three and a half minutes.
Three chords and desperation is Essential Listening every time it’s done right, genre be damned.