American High is such a fascinating rock band to me because they have this quality about them- this sound- which makes me think of some other band from the past but I can't quite put my finger on who it is. It's that lte 1990's sound like Stroke 9, Wheatus or even Dynamite Hack-- one of those clever rock bands that came after grunge but before the turn of the century. I think they're more of like a puzzle though, a piece of each of those bands and others put together to form a sound all their own.
Right away, the first song has this twee sound, like something you'd hear from HHBTM Records. There are elements of TMBG, R. Stevie Moore and even Poster Children. It feels like fun pop rock, like Saturday morning cartoons or "Alcatraz" era Mr T Experience. Not only are these sweet guitar riffs in "Second Sister", but this general sound comes back around again for the titular track.
If you're following along at home, you'll recognize the song "Cheye Calvo" and rightfully so. "I Can't Change" somehow becomes dreamy and one of the little things most people might not notice but need to take notice of is how remarkable these song structures are. The sound can get somewhat acoustic like Barenaked Ladies, which also makes me think of Kleenex Girl Wonder. "1.17.61." has that White Stripes "I can tell that we are gonna be friends" vibe going on.
Through some "na na na na na na" parts we get to the end and hear something between The Hold Steady and The Benjamins, but again, I feel American High is just crafting their own rock sound here. If you've ever felt like you're overeating you will enjoy the song "Belly" which asks "Ain't you full yet belly?" (something I feel just about every day) and it's worth noting that the song "Fairfield, CA" would work if they ever played live here because there is a Fairfield in Connecticut and I think it could be a fitting substitute.
I've never been one to dislike a band you could've heard on MTV back when they actually played music videos. Along with their sound, they tend to have these lyrics which... I want to say that even certain songs (like the titular track) are rather serious in their nature, a song like "Belly" can feel a little bit lighter lyrically, but I suppose you could read into it as meaning something more than what you see on the surface. And that's what I love about American High: if you just give them the time and thought, you'll see they're something more than just what you hear on the surface.