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Chester Kamen And The Loves: Americanized

London lads through and through, Chester Kamen And The Loves have, on their fifth album, been Americanized. In all honesty these upstarts don’t really mean that as much of a compliment, with the album’s title track a railing against their homeland’s desire to ape an ideal that those they worship no longer, if ever they did, adhere to. It’s also a barnstormer of a mid-paced thump-along with a chorus that sits deep in the mind as it builds and grows with each play. The man himself, while hardly a household name, has been a sideman for David Gilmour, Paul McCartney, Bryan Ferry, Roger Waters, Massive Attack and Madonna. Hence you know that he’s neither a one trick pony, nor a dreamer of little repute. Therefore, that there are zero rock star trappings on an album that’s driven by angst is impressive, even if it does reveal that fact in reasonably polite musical tones. With elements of Blondie or Buzzcocks in laid back mode, there’s an assuredness that you might not expect to find in what could be seen as pretty simplistic rock with a sneered pop sheen.

Drummer Steve Monti (Blockheads, Jesus And The Mary Chain, Wilko Johnson etc) is, arguably, one of the main reasons for this album’s contradictory success, with his tremendous sense of time displayed through deceptively dynamic snare patterns, kick drum meanders and the knowledge that all of this only matters if the results are as tight as hell and as loose as can be. To say he’s a star on this album cuts his contributions short by some distance. That said the easy sneer of Michael Cahill behind the mic makes certain that “Fine Line” never quite unpicks its seams, while his drawl on “Almost Done” hits home like Tom Petty interpreting a Mark Knopfler intention in a way The Travelling Wilburys never quite did.

For me, the white boy reggae of “It Gets Harder” should have been left for The Police to somehow shine into something a whole lot less hackneyed. Whereas “That Kind Of Love” is thrown out in such carefree fashion that it’s hard to really give a damn about it. However, on an unassuming collection that does, in places, truly shine, these real missteps are few and far between. The title track may tower over everything else on show and leave it in the shade, but after spending a few weeks with it, being Americanized sure ain’t as bad as these guys seem to be making out…

Track Listing
1. King Of What Remains
2. Americanized
3. Do What Your Mama Told Ya
4. Fine Lines
5. Don’t Take It Easy
6. Dream Heart
7. No Place Like Home
8. Almost Done
9. It Gets Harder
10. Show me
11. That Kind Of Love
12. Loving You

Added: August 27th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Americanized @ bandcamp
Hits: 423
Language: english

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