Hopefully this is second time lucky for American Wrestlers’ Gary McClure, once of Manchester band Working for A Nuclear Free City and now living in St Louis.
After the Manchester early 90s-inspired pop act wound down in 2013 McClure met his American wife Bridgette Imperial, moved across the Atlantic and while working in a warehouse created this debut album under the name American Wrestlers.
The assumption is that going from being in a band to working in a warehouse brings with it a degree of humbling and introspection, which is exactly how Goodbye Terrible Youth sounds. It has a homespun feel as if McClure is pouring his heart out into his bedroom recording equipment. But the songs themselves are big, full of distorted guitar, catchy hooks and choruses. Its a winning blend.
It also has a lovely vintage feel. This is especially through the keyboards on the excellently titled opener Vote Thatcher as well as Blind Kids. With McClure’s slightly nasal vocals (I like them by the way, that’s not a criticism) both these American Wrestlers tracks sound like OMD letting their hair down for a moment.
Twinkling indie pop is there too, on the 80s indie pop influenced Give Up, among many potential single.
What appeals most is the sense that love has gone into the lyrics, production and melodies. These have no doubt been hammered out in between shifts at the warehouse. When an artist creates something that you can tell they are proud of it almost flows through the music to the listener. That’s happening here.
I felt hooked in from the first bars of the intro of Vote Thatcher right through to the final keyboards on closing track Real People.
With Bridgette on keyboards, bassist Ian Reitz and Josh Van Hoorebeke McClure’s project American Wrestlers is now a full band, which has been signed by the respected label Fat Possum for good reason judging by these tracks.
by Joe Lepper
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