The Rose Petals Intersect Jangle Pop and Americana on Debut LP ‘American Grenadine’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

It’s taken a generation, but the satisfyingly sweet jangle pop seeds planted from bands like R.E.M., The Smithereens and The Gin Blossoms are finally starting to sprout. Nowhere is that more evident than on the debut from LA-based band The Rose Petals. American Grenadine kicks off with the solid opening shot “Welcome to the Big Top,” complete with Petty-worthy harmonica, a song that could easily have surfaced in the early-to-mid-90s coming from the one dorm room on campus playing music for fans seeking solace from the onslaught of grunge. 

While not specifically billed as a concept album, the lyrics for American Grenadine were written by Peter Donovan in 2016, when he set out on a road trip intent on visiting every U.S. President’s gravesite. The initial idea was to write a book, but instead, he ended up with pages and pages of song lyrics that he sent back to his bandmate and writing partner Elijah Ocean. You can hear the concept in songs like “Military Man,” and the deeply affecting “Chesapeake Leopard” (one of the strongest tracks on the album). The record ends on the slow burn “The Cowboy,” a song that lyrically sounds a little goofy on the first go round, but after repeated listens has a charming appeal that’s hard to dismiss. 

Far from sounding like a musical encyclopedia of presidents and their legacies, the songs here offer a fantastic snapshot of America itself. Finding the intersection of jangle pop and Americana, the band brings in tambourines, moody organs and memorable harmonies for a much fuller experience. But that’s not to say the album is simply an exercise in nostalgia. Far from being just a jangle pop cover band, The Rose Petals put their own stamp on the genre for a deeply compelling listen that gets better with each revisit.

Photo Courtesy of Dan Destiny

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