15 years ago, American Hi-Fi released a 13-track album which paved the way for their long career as pop-rock heroes, and saw them tour the world. To celebrate the self-titled debut, the Boston band hit Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood to re-record and re-imagine the classic as an acoustic collection of songs, compiling an ideal gift for the most die-hard of fans.
The nostalgia running through this record doesn’t even stop at the cover on ‘American Hi-Fi: Acoustic’, which once again features the iconic cassette tape from 2001 as a nice nod back to the original. When the band returned in 2014 with the decent ‘Blood & Lemonade’, it was left unclear what the future held for American Hi-Fi, but this throwback version of their most loved work is enough to please the fans for the time being.
The songs have certainly been done justice as Stacy Jones‘ vocals are eloquent and comforting on hit single ‘Flavor Of The Weak’, and the melody in ‘I’m A Fool’ is still as catchy as ever. The slower ‘Another Perfect Day’ has the easiest transposition of the lot, sounding so slick and moving, and an extra bonus of having Jones‘ ex-bandmate Kay Hanley joining the harmonies gives it an extra dimension.
The issue with the higher tempo acoustic versions is that it’s very difficult to get the oomph needed to power the song along. The excellent ‘Scar’ sounds great on this record, but after the chorus you fully expect the original riff to power through, but, of course, it doesn’t.
If a band is so inclined, they will tempt you into bonus editions of albums with acoustic tracks and the like, but they’re picked and chosen to fit the mould, so fair play to American Hi-Fi of being able to reciprocate a whole LP into a scaled back edition. This is a must-have for fans of the band or the album, but, if not, then pick up the original before going near this fun, unexpected birthday celebration of one of the most rememberable debuts from the early noughties.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)