The Little Heroes | Cinematic Americana (Wednesday Records)

cinematicI like it in the way I like Green Day: it's OK to listen to once or twice, but after that, I get a little overwhelmed by the brutality of what might have otherwise been a perfectly soothing song.

 

 

The Little Heroes' Cinematic Americana album hooks you in with "Flight Plans for Airplanes," a soothing alternative lullaby. The song is sweet, soft, and short enough to leave you yearning for a little more. As the first track fades delicately away, "September Falls" bullies its way into the mix with a more aggressive sound. It took a bit of warming up to the bizarre blend of rock, alternative, and subtle overtones of pop to develop a reasonable sense of appreciation for its creation – but that still doesn't make me terribly fond of it. I like it in the way I like Green Day: it's OK to listen to once or twice, but after that, I get a little overwhelmed by the brutality of what might have otherwise been a perfectly soothing song. By "Teeth," with all the gritting I was doing, I was certain to need a dental examination by the end of the album. The songs themselves wouldn't have been so unbearable had the instrumentals not been so overpowering as to completely consume the integrity of the songs and their lyrics. 

Fortunately, my immersion in the puddle of swollen acoustics was only mildly muddy and short-lived, because by "Thank You," a metamorphosis occurred. The sweet lullaby of the first track flooded back into my ears, this time aesthetically complimented by the kind of pop/rock energy projected by alternative bands such as Pearl Jam and Collective Soul. Relief set in from the previous over-instrumentalized songs, and I was able to make a connection to the romantic-obsessive notions: "You're an angel and your words/ Cause little earthquakes." The instrumentals are great in this song; it's very upbeat, radio-friendly, and just sweet enough to not be creepy. This energy resurfaces in "Come On," a more sobering melody in which vocals and instrumentals meet in a softer harmony. "Come On" is the kind of song you cry to. The kind of song that makes you think about everything you've done wrong and want to make right. "Maybe we could still find a way to chip away at our mistakes/ Live a life that gives instead of one that takes."

The Little Heroes switch it up yet again with "After All," "City Lights (Take Me Out)," and "Made You," appropriately mentioning a "jukebox serenade," which is precisely how I would describe the funky sound that surfaces in these songs. The songs as a whole were listenable, but a bit unmemorable.

And, in their tradition of change, the Little Heroes close out their album with "September Calls," another sobering alternative lullaby in which piano is incorporated more notably into the blend. The song, a minute and twelve seconds long, is easy on the ears, but sounds almost as though it should be playing in the background of a scary movie. The scraping noise in the background keeps you wondering where Chucky is, and I couldn't quite make the correlation between this song and the earlier track, "September Falls." Maybe they're different seasons, or maybe there is some deep connection between the two. Either way, it wasn't worth going back to listen and try to find out.

As a whole, Cinematic Americana is largely boring and over-instrumentalized, with the band seeming a bit uncertain about its identity as an alternative group. There were a few catchy songs that I would consider downloading onto my iPod, but nothing overall "cinematic" about this album at all. While I can safely say the Little Heroes are not villains to the music industry, I'm not so sure they're heroes, either. C- | Amanda Pelle

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