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My American Heart

The Meaning in Makeup

Review by Lisa Palmeno

The Meaning in Makeup is categorized as rock/alternative/indie, but My American Heart's power pop influences can be heard right away. Cynical, new wave vocals, upbeat tempos, and story-telling lyrics dominate the album. Metal is sprinkled throughout for special effects, and indie/alternative techniques are scattered here and there, bringing their sound up to date.

My American Heart's sense of timing on the intros and changes is precise and clear. The millennium boys have forged their own sound from a multitude of '80s forerunners, and the top-quality recording has a great finish on refreshing originals. The Meaning in Makeup sounds like a ton of drive and ambition went into the playing. The West Coast dudes have completely captured the spirit of youth.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Piano
This is a 50-second introduction to the punk-influenced album. The lyrics "is there a meaning in my makeup" refer to the CD's title.
The Process
"The Process" is a metal/punk/alternative blend with cynical vocals and tons of angst.
In Between
Heavy on the downbeat, "In Between" speeds up and slows down, like a car ride in the hilly countryside with the radio full-blast.
Don't Sleep
This is a straightforward rock piece with a consistent theme up until the end where a metal-influenced break is inserted just before the final verse.
Oh No
"Problems are taking shape so fast I don't need to find a one-way ticket back because this is it" are the main lyrics in an effective song about breaking away from trouble. Those excellent lyrics and well-thought-out verses make this basic rock tune a highlight of the CD.
Pitsten
The drums are prominent on this track, with unexpected and unusual percussive combinations. The guitarist exhibits the beginnings of a skilled musician on his solo at the very end.
Interluded
The screaming on this one is surprising, especially after the mellow start. A short track (1:46), "Interluded" is gloriously succinct.
Organ
This song is frighteningly dreamlike, with strange playing and misogynistic lyrics.
Poison
A song about love gone very, very wrong, "Poison" gets back to the punk/pop theme after the eerie "Organ." The screaming picks up again at the end of this number, driving home the point about the deadly nature of the subject in question.
7 Days
At song number 10 on the album, My American Heart manages to keep the energy hot and flowing. "7 Days" is up-tempo, high-energy and rockin'.
Takeover
Evil-sounding vocals drop in and out of this depiction of someone going insane. The voices "take over" in a pop/metal asylum of sound.
Ruins We Hold
Prolonged phrasings and deliberate delays show maturity in the writing and composition on this one.
Runaway
The teenage quest for freedom can be heard and felt in this pop/rock anthem that touts "We can run away, we can runaway, there's no reason why we should stay." "Runaway" is an airplay-friendly track and a pleasing feature of the CD.
 
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