American Authors begin to tell their story with “Oh What a Life”

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Oh, what a life for the energetic Brooklyn-based band American Authors, who bring a spirited first full-length album and songs to sing along to.

The musicians, who formed the band while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, were destined to compose songs together. Members include lead vocalist Zac Barnett, banjo and mandolin player and guitarist James Adam Shelley, bass guitarist Dave Rublin, and drummer Matt Sanchez.

This alternative rock band’s single, “Best Day of my Life,” has catapulted them from a virtually unknown band to one whose song is played all over the radio. When this track comes on the radio, listeners will be turning up the volume, belting it out in the car, and cranking it up at the gym. The upbeat tune starts with the sound of the banjo and becomes infectious.

But this isn’t the only song worth listening to.

Their first single, “Believer,” is about knowing things will change and times will improve. The beat of the drum and guitar give the song an even greater reason for listeners to bob their head while listening.

Another alluring track is “Luck,” about someone coming into their own and admitting to making mistakes and disappointing others, but accepting their choices and learning from them. It stresses the desire to be free to make one’s own luck and decisions and not feel “caged” in.

A favorite is the final track on the album, “Oh, What a Life.” It starts with Barnett’s voice and the banjo and builds to the bridge, where the drums come in. They sing in unison and the song feels dramatic from the intense highs to the equally satisfying lows.

Great lyrics and authentic material are in songs like “Ghost,” “Love,” and “Home,” that feel more personal and organic than the band’s singles. These tracks get overshadowed by the repetitive rhythmic sound of other tunes, like “Heart of Stone” and “Hit It,” which don’t allow their talent to fully shine, because they’re blasé. Although they are pop-sounding tracks, they sound like everything else already in the music industry: likeable pop songs that don’t have much substance but somehow get stuck in the listeners’ head because of their ordinary nature.

American Authors’ songs are clever and catchy, and they have the potential to become even greater artists once they develop their sound and include a range of melodies and a diverse mix of up-tempo tracks to bring out their vulnerability. They’re not quite there yet, but they have personality and integrity. It’s only the beginning for these authors.

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