With a name like The Amazons, I was expecting a band of superwomen, maybe from a paradise island, but these four young men hail from Berkshire. They seem to be committed to a rock-and-roll aesthetic, as exhibited by their most recent album cover, which depicts a van in flames. That van, according to an interview with BBC, belonged to The Amazons themselves and was nicknamed Big Suze. They used Big Suze as a tour bus for two years, performing around the United Kingdom at various venues. Later, the group decided to burn the van as a metaphorical monument to their hometown of Reading, and memorialized it on their self-titled album cover.
The eponymous album, released in late May, has garnered a respectable number of views on Spotify, and a number of their songs are thriving on Youtube. Specifically, “Black Magic,” “Junk Food Forever,” and “Ultraviolet” carry plenty of catchy riffs and radio-ready lyrics that are easily accessible and relatable to just about any listener. “Junk Food Forever” oozes the kind of nostalgia and desperation that a twenty-something audience can get behind, while “Ultraviolet” speaks to anyone longing for intimacy. “Black Magic,” while retaining a high energy level with its tempo and strong guitar solos, takes a more wistful turn as it begs to reignite an old flame.
However, beyond a handful of songs with memorable choruses and guitar riffs, many of the songs on this album fall into the trap of repeating the same formula over and over. By the time I hit the later tracks on the album (namely “Little Something” and “Holy Roller”), I felt as though I were listening to the same couple of songs on repeat. After half an hour of listening, the tracks started to blend together into one somewhat monotonous pattern of power chords plus shouted vocals. Even on “Ultraviolet,” a song that I keep finding myself coming back to, the lyrics lack substance and rely far too heavily on an admittedly enjoyable chorus.
For a band that likes to set things on fire, The Amazons seem to have a hard time thinking outside the box. While some of their songs have a big impact, most sound like they’re playing it safe. Mostly, they’re not doing anything that bands like Royal Blood and Foo Fighters haven’t done before. The familiar and sometimes formulaic sound of their new album makes for easy listening, but not always engaging listening. This band has proved its potential, but there’s room here for The Amazons to grow. With a touch more complexity and variation, who knows where they could end up.