It is no surprise at all that No Americana managed to secure a tour with Britain’s premier noise-‘n’-melody merchants The Wildhearts given their own melodic, slightly punkoid proclivities. This six track, debut Ep opens with ‘Never say never’, a sunshine powered mix of heavy guitars, powerful drumming and the sort of massed vocals that Ginger and co pioneered back on ‘earth Vs the Wildhearts’ round about a hundred years ago. The result is actually surprisingly refreshing – perhaps it’s just the sheer volume of releases that seem satisfied to wallow in their own misery these days, but there is a youthful vitality to No Americana that seems at odds with these cynical times and makes you sit up and listen.
Having grabbed attention, the band are in no hurry to diversify and ‘method in my madness’ is a similarly-paced slice of radio-friendly guitar abuse. It’s so unusual to hear a band like this these days that it seems almost anachronistic to hark back to the days when guitar-driven bands like the Wildhearts, Manic street preachers and Ash ruled Britain’s radio stations as opposed to the current crop of X factor-lite idiocy and yet there’s such a surging vitality to No Americana that you can’t help but hope they do well simply because there seems to be a gaping void where melodic pop-rock used to be and they do it so well. Of course much of what is on offer here may prove to light-weight for the more metal of our readers – that’s fine, one imagines that No Americana will not be heart-broken – but for those of you who, like me, grew up at a time when alt-rock ruled the airwaves and bands such as Ash forged the missing link between the lighter-weight pop music of the charts and the heavier angst of Nirvana, then No Americana offer a similar experience: melodic, crunchy guitar riffs, vocal harmonies and radio-friendly choruses and the occasional heavier moment in the vein of ‘wax poetic’ which buzzes along like an amphetamine rush at a party. Equally the gorgeous melodies of Wildheart’s referencing ‘the science of seduction’ is an ideal single choice and you can easily imagine this band at the more indie-orientated festivals (they’re the perfect candidate for Reading) gaining huge crowds in the mid-day sun.
Of the final two tracks on this perfectly delivered EP, ‘sing for a winner’ follows in the footsteps of the perennially underrated Feeder as covered by Honeycrack while ‘Bringin’ me down’ finshes in blazing rock form with a hint of the sex pistols, The Manics and the Buzzcocks all colliding in one perfect pop-rock package.
No Americana are exactly what they advertise themselves to be – a quintessentially British act who thrive on updating the long-lost sound of nineties pop-rock for a new generation and who do it ever so well. Less heavy, perhaps, than the Wildhearts in full flight (this is more ‘red light, green light’ than ‘rooting for the bad guy’), what No Americana do is to bridge the gap between the worlds of pop music and rock music in a way that hasn’t been seen for far too long and they do so with a passion and zeal that borders on the religious. If you’re looking for something to play instead of your battered copy of ‘fishing for luckies’ or ‘everything must go’ then you could do a lot worse than this sunny, well produced and perfectly written slab of melodic rock and when one considers the state of mainstream rock it’s fair to say that this Birmingham-based four piece deserve to go far with music of this quality.