American Aquarium

Lamentations: Limited Edition Red, Gold and Silver Vinyl LP


Release date: 26 November, 2021

Aligning with producer Shooter Jennings does give American Aquarium a jolt of earthiness on Lamentations, a quality that suits the collection of songs BJ Barham wrote for this 2020 album. Barham wears his heart heavily on Lamentations, a fact he takes no pains to disguise. The album opens with the quasi-title track Me + Mine (Lamentations), a weary ballad that stretches out for nearly seven minutes. Its a foreboding start to an album, and while there are moments of lightness that peek in through the cracks -- Starts with You is a propulsive bit of jangle pop evoking the Wallflowers, The Luckier You Get slams like prime John Mellencamp -- this is a somber, serious affair, one that explores the dashed dreams of America at the dawn of the 2020s. At times, the deliberate tempos and drawled melodies wind up underscoring Barhams debt to Bruce Springsteen, but thats where Jennings steps in, letting the rest of American Aquarium pull Lamentations from a sober singer/songwriter set into a burly, rocking Americana record. Perhaps its a subtle shift, but the gangly gait of the band does help give Barhams bittersweet songs a welcome muscle and a pulse. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Vinyl LP
New West Records