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File Under: Modern Aggressive Pop
rating: A

1. Complicated Girl

2. Pins & Needles

3. Love's Chance

4. I'll Understand

5. Kill Myself 

6. What's on Your Mind?

7. Since You've Been Gone

8. Get up Get up

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  • American Anthem
  • American Anthem
    Self Titled

    by Susan Salva

    American Anthem has the most outstanding songwriting and musical structure heard in some time. American Anthem is comprised of Cliff Calabro on vocals and guitar, Christy Calabro on guitar and backing vocals, Joe Andriaccio bass and backing vocals, and John Medina drums, percussion and backing vocals.

    The self titled debut from American Anthem is nothing short of perfection. The production of the CD is flawless and nicely layered. A few songs sound radio ready, but to enjoy the music you might want to mix them up a bit and put the disc on random. Their song development and storytelling are compelling. The Calabro brothers and Jeremy Rubolino wrote these tunes that are on the CD, and they sure know how to craft a song.

    "Complicated Girl" demonstrates their modern aggressive pop edge. The harmonies are outstanding. Jeremy Rubolino and Cliff Calabro have produced this fine CD.

    "Pins and Needles" the second track uses triple time, punk influenced rhythms. It is a peppy, upbeat, slam dance tune. The song appears to be Queen inspired with clever lyrics and a dance backbeat.

    "Love's Chance" is great cut for their first single. This is my favorite song on the CD. It's a great track with a catchy chorus, good hook. The tune is very memorable. The song has a pop feel to it and is easily digestible.

    "I'll Understand" has a Queen influenced piano with good lyrics "Bohemian Rhapsody"style. Their chorus sounds like Bon Jovi. The track is about simple love. They have chosen to use full strings and their use of modulation is awesome. The song is definitely a cool power ballad.

    Kill Myself a key cut totally inspirational and very much like the early lyrics from the alternative pop rock band Everclear's So much for the Afterglow. There is a cool lead guitar riff. Suggestively, this track talks about somebody being so love sick so much he wants to kill himself. The harmonies are divine and this cut is very pop and reminiscent of eighties. It has the 80's flare on guitar and then it breaks down like a Beatles tune. The guitars are memorable and the song sticks in your head for days on end.

    "What's On Your Mind" is a shining track. The brothers' use of the style from Peter Frampton's talk box. The harmonies from both Cliff and Christy's vocals and the rest of the band are outstanding. The tune is very Beatles-like in melody.

    "Since You've Been Gone" is folksier than the rest of the tracks. There appears to be an inspiration from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust-like vocals, an awesome bridge portion with Beatlesque great harmonies. The tune has a very nice '70s sounding guitar riff plus a nice acoustic feel. Cool use of effects on the microphone like a megaphone.

    "Get Up Get Out" has a punk feel. This cut also has an Everclear inspired vibe. The drumming kicks butt. Strong harmonies. This track is reminiscent of Cheap Trick's "Dream Police". A rap portion of the song is fit into the track nicely.

    For all of you hardcore modern aggressive rockers this is a band not to miss. They are the real deal. No crap. They are true musicians and crafters of this awesome disc. I recommend them to all rock fans. Cliff and Christy Calabro and Jeremy Rubolino are the consummate of balladeers.

    American Anthem is currently on the road touring as the opening act for Bret Michaels of Poison's solo tour of "Songs of Life," and then playing double duty as the backing band for Bret Michael's tour. The tour runs through December. They should be resuming with another tour sometime in the Spring.

    Susan Salva is a Staff Writer. Contact her at susan@rockzone.com.

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