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The American Revival “Whiskey Kisses”


Austin’s own The American Revival deliver a provocatively styled heartbreak anthem in their new single “Whiskey Kisses,” which is their sharpest and most emotionally-charged release so far. The lyrics center on an unnamed character who has fallen hard for love’s attractive qualities only to find himself alone and longing to recapture that feeling for just one more day. “Whiskey Kisses” reminds us that often remembering the good times can be even more painful than living without their charms, but the primary backbone of the words isn’t the self-loathing that sometimes arises with deep introspection. This song is about self-awareness and learning from where we’ve come from, and somehow ends up feeling much more optimistic than it does elegiac in nature.

“Whiskey Kisses” isn’t overly saturated in pop polish, but its arrangement is very streamlined and balanced nonetheless. The American Revival have the confident swagger of a band that has done a lot more than simply cut a couple of singles, and they really pull together with the harmonies here to leave a massive emotional crater in their path. The guitars war with the keys for dominance over the backdrop of the song, while the bass and drums are perfectly content to follow the studded lead of the vocals.

The choir-like singing that is delicately layered throughout the song is the real focal point of “Whiskey Kisses,” but frontman Brandon Callies isn’t stingy about sharing the limelight with his creative brothers. The chorus is as powerful as a herd of stampeding broncos, and it’s entirely because of the incredible harmonizing between all of the players. It’s almost as if these guys were meant to come together in this setting and churn out these melodies for a country that’s been hungry for roots rock that isn’t exclusively focused on partisan themes and jaded anti-catharsis.

This single reminds me of the organic bar band rock of the mid-1970’s but without the overwhelming attachment to negative lyricism. As melancholic as the main narrative is, the music saves the words from dragging us completely asunder with their moody volatility. The prose takes on a beastly shape when accompanied by the enormous grooves that the bassline is pumping out one beat at a time, and if anything I would say that this song has the ability to soundtrack a number of situations that go far beyond lonely nights spent contemplating in a cold dark room. “Whiskey Kisses” is lyrically retrospective, but only in its greater search for emotional growth and self-improvement.

2018 has seen some very intriguing releases from the country music underground, but this latest tune from The American Revival has got to be one of the more stylish and engaging so far. There’s no easy way to categorize what this track imparts to us; it’s equal parts folk ballad and country rock exhibition. The melody is focused and unaffected by the modulation of the pace, and even when the band is grating away at the closing verses they never sound like they’re losing energy or filling in the gaps with unnecessary frills. This is intelligent country music for a new generation of enthusiasts, and I for one can’t wait to see what the group spins in our direction next.


Mindy McCall



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