In the lazy parlance of 21st century rock snobbery, Americana means literate rock with a folk-country waft. Not only is that definition unfair, its un-American, because it excludes the ground-level, grab-what-you-can rock band from the equation, a cornerstone of country music since Ritchie Valens recorded Come On Lets Go in 1958. ¡Americano! is Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers fourth album, and its aptly titled. It showcases the Arizona band moving deftly between the easygoing album rock of Leaky Little Boat and Loco to Stay Sane; the wry trumpet and accordion-flavored Mexican Moonshine; the title tracks strident, evocative guitar pop; and the storytelling Counterclock-wise, where Clyne becomes a John Mellencamp for the Southwest. (The latters also bolder than anything Mellencamps written in years.) ¡Americano! is caked in yellow, sometimes wanting, and angry at least once. On Love, Come Lighten My Load, its as boundless as the sound carrying from a Saturday night bandstand. Its best moment might be Switchblade. Like a great short story its powerfully visual devils and dust drift through its words. But its plaintive in its twining chords and deliberate percussion, as musical as it is lyrical. For Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, Americana is experienced, not assumed.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].