What started out as a one man project in the northern parts of the UK has transformed into a new album based in the southern states of the United States. American Wrestlers started out as Gary McClure, born in Glasgow; developed in Manchester. What followed was a chance meeting with a woman and a relocation to St Louis. Once there the project was discovered online via Bandcamp by the wonderful southern label Fat Possum, based in Oxford, Mississippi, which took a chance and produced the first album. Now it’s time for Goodbye Terrible Youth the second album by McClure and his band.
The album opens with a hint to McClure’s roots with the track ‘Vote Thatcher’ a Lo-Fi ironic track about missing Thatcher. Fuzzy guitars meet retro synth sounds whilst still displaying McClure's song writing capabilities. This is continued through the next few tracks in the excellent ‘Give Up’ and ‘So Long’. The lead single ‘Hello, Dear’ stems from the annoyance of spam emails. Not the most obvious subject matter. Sick of the constant bombardment McClure turns this into a song about instant culture, where nothing holds any gravitas and a desperation to be an overnight instant hit without putting in the hours and talent to achieve it.
"I'd crawl through glass for a sign of life but lately I cannot sleep at night with my back to my telephone."
After these opening rather frenetic tracks the album slows and a more careful ponderous approach again highlights the song writing abilities. ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Terrible Youth’ still contain the jangly guitar hooks of previous tracks yet they sound more mature. As a listener you are drawn into the construction of the songs and they allow an even better understanding of the band’s sound. ‘Terrible Youth’ in particular best displays the band's optimum sound. Catchy chorus and exploratory verses meet steady laid back guitars in a great melting pot of groaning, growling lo-fi sound.
‘Blind Kids’ sees the reintroduction of synths and their sound, which starts to change again as it begins to sound more psychedelic whilst remaining rooted in indie guitar sound almost with a nod to War On Drugs meets Ultravox.
The combination of a Scottish songwriter matured in Manchester and then transported to the States seems to be a perfect combination and has clearly been hugely influential for the band. With the exposure in the States and the backing of Fat Possum things certainly look bright. Not bad for a bloke who started making music in a Glasgow bedroom.