When Greenwood's American Bombshell entered the Grammy Amplifier competition last year, they hoped to see how their straightforward rock would fare against thousands of other bands from across the nation … and they wound up winning the entire competition, playing a pair of shows at the famed Whisky A Go Go club in LA, and, at SXSW, opening for Chvrches and Defones in front of 6,000 people.
Somewhere amid all that, they found time to record an album with Mike Clink, who helmed many of the best straight-ahead rock albums of the era for Megadeth and Guns 'n' Roses. The result is No Regrets, a debut which lives up to the hard-rocking promise of American Bombshell. This is a band existing for no sub-genres. There's no pretension or delusion here … just rock, and plenty of it.
The album opens strong with “Tattoos and Booze,” a song which could well be sung by the defiant child on the album's cover, beer in hand: “Don't tell me that I'm walking down the wrong road, I've got nothing left to lose. I'm made up of everything you're not!” Jay Cee growls over the dueling riffs of Steve Boyles and Andrew Nixon. The rest of the album holds that momentum together on the strength of the thundering rhythm section and the band's willingness to commit completely to the mission.
All members of American Bombshell have had experience in other successful bands, so they can thankfully skip the growing pains and go straight for the fun. No Regrets is a debut album with an edge to it, and the experience they gained in LA puts the album a cut above much of their local competition in distilling their powerful live sound to tape. Clink's assured production guarantees the album sounds classic and new at the same time, building on the classic '80s rock the band admires without their own songs devolving into parody.
It's crazy to think, as good as No Regrets is, the band's got more material ready to go. Their single “My Drug,” produced by Clink and mastered by Israeli engineer Maor Applebaum, isn't even on the album but it's got a glorious hook that is certain to put the band on the map if the album's 10 tracks don't. Check them out locally while you can, because I'll be stunned if a year from now they're not national headliners.
Jonathan Sanders is a recent transplant to the Indianapolis scene, but he's figured out how to make a quick impact -- find great local bands and fight to be the first to get them in print. An unabashed karaoke junkie, he is at home anywhere wannabe rock-stars regularly caterwaul.