American Minor: American Minor

By Derek Wright

This current Southern rock revival would be annoying except that, for the most part, bands in the genre all have one thing enjoyable about them.

The Kings of Leon would be maddening if it weren’t for the smarmy attitude that oozes from each guitar lick. My Morning Jacket would border jam-band territory if those neo-psychedelic, dream pop vocals didn’t demand such attention.

However, American Minor lacks one dominant characteristic, and its amalgamation of roots rock, Americana blues and fringe country forges a twofold identity that at times is rigid and at others flaccid – but is neither one long enough to sound legit.

Tracks like “Walk On” and “One Last Supper” use an aggressive, blues swagger seemingly to cut Northern expansion off at the guitar pass. Whereas “All My Time” soundtracks a rocking-chair-on-the-front-porch afternoon with harmonic organs and lazy vocals.

Arena-ready tunes “Shine” and “Buffalo Creek” reek of the genre’s 1970s heyday more than any of the quintet’s peers. Even though we can almost picture William Miller, Penny Lane and Russell Hammond dusting off their bell-bottoms while “it’s all happening,” we never fully believe American Minor is as much a tribute to or accurate caricature of that decade as Cameron Crowe’s fictitious band Stillwater.

Instead, the Illinois-by-way-of West Virginia act seems like a gang of 20-somethings who stumbled upon their parent’s vinyl collection just before they bought their first instruments.

And this blatant naivety might be the band’s most identifiable trait.