American Ink defies expectations on their debut LP, a vulnerable and slightly experimental album that hearkens back to the glory days of emo.

Romantic heart-breakers American Ink have geared up over the past year to release their first full-length album, Please Forget You Knew My Name, a refreshing and interesting follow-up to their 2018  EP, Hand Drawn Hearts.

Please Forget You Knew My Name is a surprising album, defying all expectations upon listening to the angsty, pop-punk laden EP. Of course, there’s plenty of angst in Please Forget You Knew My Name, but it’s more of a mature angst, with  themes of loneliness and a refined sense of self-awareness and suspense. 

The whole tone of the LP places more emphasis on lyrical emotion rather than catchy guitar riffs, as done in American Ink’s previous EP. That being said, it still provides an incredibly diverse soundscape, containing both acoustic and post-hardcore tracks. “Ceaseless” and “New Years Eve (Please Forget You Knew My Name” are free-flowing, containing natural transitions, and feel wistfully and thoughtfully melancholic. In “Ceaseless” they sing, “I’m pacing the floor / By my drawing board / But I’m all / Out of goddamn paint.” Similarly, in “New Years Eve,” they sing over a soft melody, “But I want to go / To that party too / But I’m alone / And it’s quiet inside.” Everything from the lyricism, which exposes vulnerabilities and ranges in sound from soft acoustic to hard electric riffs, provides a nice contribution to the wide array of emo-revival canon, like Remo Drive and Mom Jeans. At the same time, the sounds heard throughout the LP, especially in “Painted” hearken back to early emo influencers like Jawbreaker.

“The Room I’m In” is definitely one of the tracks that pays homage to early emo bands while remaining unique. Originally a single recorded in 2017, the re-recorded track sounds a lot cleaner and more progressively advanced than its previous version, as it includes a neat little guitar solo (a rarity for an American Ink track, as they always seem to be cohesively in sync with each other). A punchy and punky track, the lyrics, “My dad is yelling at the walls I built around my head,” display a youthful disquietude while remaining relatable to anyone with a similar relationship. 

While the lyrics to “The Room I’m In” are more straightforward in nature, “Crash Test Dummy” and “Show” are more post-hardcore tracks that are a bit more experimental and much more metaphorical. In “Show,” the paint imagery returns as the group sings, “Your world is so clean / I’m just the ink in your scene.” Both tracks are absolute headbangers; they rip out heavy bass reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine with hard, rolling percussion, and are definitely highlights of the album. The palm mutes throughout “Show” build an unsettling suspense as the song builds into a soaring, more comforting chorus. In “Crash Test Dummy,” the band calls for “No more crash tests!” over defiant riffs, like a protest song calling for the end of social drama and judgments.   

In just one year, American Ink’s songwriting has become more sophisticated and mature. Unafraid of experimenting with different instrumentation styles, they played everything from hard and fast to slow and soft, all appearing on Please Forget You Knew My Name. With this album, American Ink somehow successfully manages to stay relatable while also creating trendy, yet nostalgic, music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.