Artist: My Girl Friday
Album: American Kids EP
American Kids is a pleasing and breezy EP, with six smooth tracks that make for light and enjoyable listening. The band describe themselves as Americana/rock/country and ably borrow from each genre, pitching slower, rolling numbers with slightly more exotic and upbeat pieces. The songs are, generally, worthy and appealing, and leave a more resounding impression than their soft touch might suggest.
“Rolling Stone” is a pleasant and dreamy opener. Justin Godsey’s vocals are earnestly sublime, carrying the loving and affectionate music ably. It’s a warm, invigorating rock-lite track that endears despite its predictability. There are some nice touches in the wistful instrumentation, including acoustic guitars and a piano, with a kind of meandering background twang that reflects nostalgia and idealism. It’s measured and steady with a winning blend of subdued charisma and nostalgic pining, a listen at once gentle and stirring. “American Kids” ups the tempo and, while it’s not as immediately appealing as the opening track, has the same warm, engaging tone. Lyrically it addresses youthful adventuring and daydreaming and references everything from Blink 182 to Bruce Springsteen. It seems a touch self-involved at times but its charming ode to innocence is infectious enough to redeem it.
“Home With You” lacks real oomph and firepower, but as their stated brand it’s perfectly likable. It’s a well-crafted tribute to a cherished female companion, just as carefully executed as the others, and infused with plenty of conviction and ardor. It highlights the band’s winning ability to blend something thoughtful and personal with conviction and ardor. Indeed, this song plays out like a serenade – despite its jarring percussion it’s quite intimate and easy to imagine as a solo acoustic piece. The sombre, pensive refrain that opens “Live Forever” catches the eye instantly, and it builds on this promise. The vocals are noticeably muted, allowing for a strong and potent bass line, and its airy instrumentation gives it a more thoughtful air. The chorus is idealistic as opposed to charged, and while the lyrics err on the side of cliché a little too often it’s an enjoyable number.
“Down by the Water” is upfront about its country ambitions, with a banjo and female vocals joining the fray. It’s hardier and heartier than the others and its cheerful energy endears throughout, though the group medleys of ‘nanana’ don’t quite hit the mark. “Love Will Find You” makes for a surprisingly low-key but convincing denouement to the EP. It’s a slower number, even for an album full of pensive pieces, and suitably soft and subdued throughout. The sentiment is laid on quite thickly but it’s not grating or overbearing, the careful swell of the music keeping things focused. The second-act cinematic swell adds much to its appeal and it ends with a lingering fade-out which seems an apt conclusion for the longing and emotiveness expressed throughout the EP.
Detractors might argue that American Kids lacks much in the way of flair or creativity, but what it does it does well, and even if they don’t set you alight these songs are difficult to dislike. The band have a certain innate charm that courses freely through their music and this release provides a wholesome pause for thought amidst the more rambunctious offerings of other rock bands.
Review written by Grace Duffy