A North Woods Blessing

The debut album from a new band is always something special. When it is a band from my hometown, it’s even more exciting. If that disc completely blows away all my expectations, it’s shovel to the head stunning.

Having listened to The Worst Is Over Now by the Twin Cities’ American Revival several times over the course of the last week, I must admit that the above description massively understates the wonder and beauty of this disc. Maybe it’s my new found love for alt-country or the soulful, widescreen voice of lead singer Thomas Pendarvis but the 11 tracks on this record have overwhelmed me with a blessed North Woods melancholy that I am praying endures forever.

During the second track on the disc, “Boogabear,” Pendarvis croons, “I make the couch into a bed so I can rest…I’m so tired…fighting the battle of who could care less,” and I can smell the 25 year old fabric that has heard far too many arguments. The John Bonhamesque drumming of Jeremy Krueth snaps us immediately into this world during the intro of the song and we are instantly propelled down a dusty road filled with broken hearts.

Of course, the opening track, “King Kong,” sets the stage for all of this.

You can always do what you want to do
Hell, you can always say what you want to say
You can always lie if you wanted to
Turn yourself into somebody new

It’s every girl or every boy…everywhere…that has fallen in love for the first time or out of love for the last…

The characters that make up the tapestry of The Worst is Over Now are woven with great clarity and detail by the band. The themes of the heartache and loneliness that results from failing or failed relationships resonates throughout the entire album. Instead of making me wallow in the muck of it all, I feel comforted…just as I do when I listen to the blues…in knowing that the gutting that I have felt in my life is shared by a universal connection of far too many people slump shouldered over a bottle of beer.

Yet, heartache is not the only theme prevalent on the album. In many ways, “Virginia,” “Singapore Blues,” and “Poza” all intimate the sacred journey that each of us takes during our lives. This all comes to a zenith during the best track on the record, “Austin,” a personal saga that relates a Homeric quest for the one that got away. But this festival anthem (if there ever was one) begs the question: is the lamentation over a girl or a city? It’s not clear and that’s what is so magnificent about it.

It’s the mystery of the journey…

For those of you who live in the Twin Cities, American Revival’s CD release party is Saturday, August 20th at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis. Information about this event can be found by clicking on this link.

For outside the Twin Cities, friend American Revival on Facebook and download music from there.  

Check out this video of “Poza” from a recent concert performance.

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