By Caroline Janes
Artist: American Pets
Album: Doing the Best We Can
Release Date: February 16, 2018
For all of you Young the Giant and Strange Birds fans, I have the band for you. American Pets is the new project from Young the Giant members Eric Cannata and Francois Comtois, and Strange Birds members Aidin Sagedh and Bret Leinen who was also a member of Cotillon. These four talented artists have been collaborating since 2014 under the name Travelers. At the end of 2017, they decided to rebrand themselves which involved changing the band name and announcing their debut album Doing the Best We Can.
American Pets isn’t your average California native indie rock band. One thing a listener can tell immediately when tuning in to their freshman album, Doing the Best We Can, is that this is a collaborative effort among the band members. Each member showcases both their vocal abilities and instrumentation. The shifting vocals between band members throughout the album keeps listeners on their toes. As a long time Young the Giant fan, it’s cool to be able to pick out Comtois’ and Cannata’s vocals. It’s also great to hear these guys up front and center in this album since they usually sing back up on Young the Giant songs.
Doing the Best We Can consists of seven tracks and is only 20 minutes long, so it’s an easy listen through and it’s definitely worth trying out. This freshman album sounds well developed and it’s obvious experienced musicians worked on it. If you listened to Travelers’ album, Sleeptalking, there are similarities, but with the emergence of the new name, American Pets, came a fresh new sound. The mix of raw vocals, synth and crisp guitar comes together to make enjoyable and easy to listen to songs.
My favorite song off the album has to the be one of the singles released, “Bad Dream.” The synth that brings the song in is captivating. The harmonies among the singers in the chorus is pleasing to the ears. Another song that utilizes harmonies and collaborative vocals throughout the track is “Birds of Feather.” The singing in this song is raw and real. I also like the whistling and bird sounds because they add to the mood of the song and add another layer to the otherwise simple elements of the song.
“Dying Alone” and “Be a Man” both start with a nice repetitive guitar melody that is featured throughout each song. Contrastingly, the guitar in “Be a Man” is much crisper and concise than the lazier reverberating sound of the guitar in Dying Alone. The vocals in each song mirror the mood of the guitar. The vocals in “Dying Alone” flow together more where as the vocals in “Be a Man” are more staccato.
“Trick of the Trade” closes this short album with a lazy California inspired guitar that is reminiscent of “Space Song” by Beach House. Again the collaborative vocals in this track are characteristic to American Pets and it’s one of my favorite things about this up and coming band.