Americana becomes a broader term each and every day. With artists like Sun Kil Moon and The Avett Brothers, American roots music has returned with a glowing vengeance, reminiscent of the early sixties splurge of Dylan and Cash.
Midwest Soul Xchange are a great group if you like your songs with stories and sunny-side-up guitar. Ryan Summers and Nate Cherrier, the voices behind the music, match up incredibly well on New American Century, delivering heartfelt words and vocals that sound almost too natural on the record. When listening, I feel like the group is performing in front of me.
They can be funny, snide, mindful, and crass all within the same track. One of my favorite songs on New American Century is the catchy and silly “Has Anybody Seen Bob.” It rambles and brambles with great harmony, asking where the hell this Bob guy is to begin with. I was screaming the chorus halfway through, smiling the whole time.
Their darker tracks are blissful, wrapping you in reverb bounty and howled words you’d find in Pink Floyd prog. “Sun Dried” is a prime example of this sinister bliss, mixing sounds together and never looking back.
The first track however, “Set A Course For Common Worlds,” is a pile of REM-dipped country time, with riffs and happy harmonies to hide deeper emotional meaning. Really good start to a truly solid album.
Midwest Soul Xchange don’t mirror their influences, but have a power that will remind you of some your favorite bands. They look for salvation in modern day struggles and come out with music that has first-listen familiarity. That’s hard to do.