Americana is now a very broad church, and The Pedaljets are very much at the outer rock edge of it. Singer Mike Allmayer has a definite touch of Tom Petty about his voice and songs like ‘Downtown‘ would have been at home on the first two Heartbreakers albums. Their PR for the album describes them as “a mixture of Rust Belt Rock and Grain Belt Americana” suggesting a collision of Springsteen and Neil Young.
The variety of styles on this album stretches from ‘Placid City Girl‘, jangly guitars that recall REM and The Byrds, to out and out rocker ‘This Is Sepsis‘. The louder numbers recall the Neil Young of ‘Sleeps With Angels‘, or his collaboration with Pearl Jam ‘Mirrorball‘. The album closes perfectly with ‘What Only Cats Chase’ an acoustic number that feels like The Beatles meeting Calexico. Another description of themselves that the Pedaljets are fond of is “Kansas City’s answer to The Replacements” and for some they may well sit closer to that sort of alternative rock. The Midwest upbringing means that they have absorbed influences from all over. They are 6 albums into their career and if there is a criticism of ‘Twist the Lens‘ it is that it does seem to lack a clear identity. Everything tends to remind you of someone else. Whatever label you put on it this it is a great piece of American music. If you are in a mood to annoy the neighbours, this is the one.