With their self-titled follow-up to 2011’s Rise Ye Sunken Ships, Augustines (formerly We Are Augustines) serve up a Springsteen-esque stadium rock anthem-banger brimming with clamorous energy but sadly lacking when it comes to intrigue or intricacy. Deprived of the elements of sombre reflection and interesting melodic structure displayed on their debut LP, the band have opted for a more gung-ho, crowd pleasing approach that forges mixed results.
It’s a shame, as the album gets off to a compelling start with the spirited ‘Cruel City’, a song with interesting afro-latin influences, followed by their rousing single release ‘Nothing To Lose But Your Head’, which whets the listener’s appetite nicely. Things begin to dwindle thereafter however as the lack of variety and originality begin to become apparent. Vanilla anthems like ‘Weary Eyes’, ‘Don’t Look Back’, and the closing track ‘Hold Onto Anything’ are far too generic while the band sound like they’re trying too hard on songs like ‘Walkabout’ and ‘Now You Are Free’, effectively mimicking the very ‘American’ sound of the likes of Arcade Fire and The National.
Relying on an overly-simplistic song structure based around looping guitar melodies, elevating rhythms and an annoyingly affected, scratchy lead vocal throughout, the band seem to drown in their own emotions towards the record’s end, and although tracks like the vaguely melodic ‘Kid You’re On Your Own’ and ‘Avenue’ raise the bar in places, the album still feels devoid of inspiration and ultimately TOO nice.