Album Review // This American Song // Connect the Dots
This American Song's EP Connect the Dots is a stunning showcase of the band's immense talent and infectious energy. With the idiosyncratic delivery of frontman Jeff Phillips, the band weaves together a seamless blend of indie rock that's absolutely refreshing. With a lineup consisting of new members Michael Milk on bass, Dave Tamulonis on keyboard, and Brent Knight on drums, the band is on the exact right track, while the continuous brassy sound provided by trumpeter Jesse Guerrein and trombonist Larry Wheaton add a layer of texture and depth that has become the band's calling card. In addition to the lyrics — which feel like the most evocative ones in the band's history — one thing that sets Connect the Dots apart is John Johnston's incendiary lead playing. His guitar work is both technically impressive and emotionally resonant, providing a powerful counterpoint to the band's lyrics. Overall, this EP is a triumph for the band, a perfect follow-up to their 2020 full-length People of the Stars, and a must-listen for anyone who wants to get on board with one of the low-key greatest bands in Erie's history. This and they just released a full-length live album Exile on State Street, complete with a pitch-perfect Stones cover send-up, recorded live at PACA.