Is there another band from the last few years who have worn their feelings on proud display quite as well as american poetry club? The St Louis band, led by Jordan Weinstock (of It Takes Time Records) have carved a niche they describe as “the sound of self-esteem! the sound of community!”—a style that borrows from emo and twee pop and relies heavily on a sense of gladness and appreciation of friendship as a way of dealing with life’s little emotional hiccups.
New album a little light of our own may well be the last by american poetry club, at least in its current form, as the band disperse after finishing college. But, despite the potential farewell album vibes, it seems like Weinstock and co. are intent on burning out as bright and pure as a sparkler, the songs infused with a collective energy that displays a real sense of community.
“If you think you are struggling alone just to be fine,” Weinstock sings in opener ‘in your own way, at your own pace, pulling through!’, “know that i am always right here next to you, I am always by your side.” It sets the tone for the album in more ways than one, direct and intense and at times painfully earnest, american poetry club go all out to say what they mean and mean what they say. Second track ‘as slow and vast as our love can take’ is equally short and direct, a ramshackle indie pop song that’s almost reminiscent of Emperor X. ‘summer of the century’ kicks up the tempo even further, a glorious pop punk singalong that ends with a plea to embrace and celebrate each other and ourselves as individuals.
what you feel is alright, don’t worry you burn bright
how you think is okay, please do this your own way
‘pro pic’ is the album’s standout moment, and in some ways feels like the song american poetry club have been buildings towards over these last few years. The balance between heart-on-sleeve emo and twee indie pop is just about perfect, as Weinstock and his friends sing (and sometimes yell) over shuffling drums and subtle horns. Thematically, it’s one of the more reflective songs on the album, our narrator reminded of a previously dear relationship/friendship by occasional glimpses of a social media profile picture.
‘hampton ave’ is the album’s most reserved moment, a quiet acoustic track that still maintains the purity of feeling of the other songs. It’s proof that american poetry club can do things stripped-back, and bodes well if Weinstock intends to play these songs solo if the band goes on hiatus.
Finale ‘snbm’ then takes everything that has come before, not just in this album but through the entire american poetry club catalogue, and distills it into just under three minutes. It begins hushed and spacious, just guitar and Weinstock’s voice, but grows into a swelling outro that based around a mantra for positivity and self-love. It’s a fitting end to both the album and american poetry club as a project.
no more low self-esteem
we’re gonna be all we dream
we are bursting at the seam
we are a brilliant sunbeam