American Princes Little Spaces

American Princes’ debut sounds like a family affair. I imagine two young siblings, one with a boner for swagger-rock along the lines of Jet, and the other with an emo fixation. They grapple with their control freak older brother who probably contributes most of the instrumentation and has been meaning to wean his brothers off of their respective obsessions by way of early ’90s indie rock for as long as they've musically come of age. He plays them his old Drive Like Jehu records, believing a more aggressive starting point might better change their minds, but the other two remain stuck on their favourite sub genres. These mismatched influences create a friction that actually adds to the mix, even though the music wavers sometimes on its rickety foundation. There is definite chemistry, which is hottest when the band steadfastly emulates early ’90s art punk (the aforementioned Drive Like Jehu, Jesus Lizard-lite) with a buoyant, tongue-and-cheek approach. The folky track "Eyeliner," on the opposite end of the coarseness spectrum, is just as good, if not better. Lyrics like "baby I'm a singer in a rock’n’roll band” leave a bad taste sometimes, but show that the band at least have a sense of humour. American Princes combine a teenage brat, garage-band-with-stars-in-their-eyes aesthetic with an apparently substantial musical education, and it's a good idea. Little Spaces has hits and misses, but it can't be called a dull debut. (Yep Roc)