American Revival: If it doesn't work, we aren't afraid to let go

American Revival: If it doesn't work, we aren't afraid to let go
Photo by Jim McFarlane

Indie-rock with traces of country is a tough genre to innovate in, and even tougher to simply retread the same ground. Minneapolis band American Revival doesn't reinvent the indie-rock wheel, but it does add something immensely enjoyable to the genre, which is more than good enough. Their new EP, Thank Ya Kindly, is sweetened and prepped with pockets of catchy guitar and melodies. It's not complicated, but it does capture the emergence of the present and the love of a genre at one time.

Gimme Noise caught up with the band before their EP release on Friday evening to find out what the band has been up to and learn the reasoning behind the release of an all-too-short album.
Band members:
Thomas Pendarvis (lead vocals and guitar)
Jared Wagner (guitar)
Collin Neugebauer (bass)
Jeremiah Talamantes (drums)
Derek Sandbeck (guitar and keyboards)

Gimme Noise: How did the band meet, and what was it about American Revival that you all felt was the right project to collaborate on?

American Revival: Following a move to the Twin Cities from his home state of Arkansas, Thomas met Jared, a Twin Cities native, through a mutual friend and formed American Revival in 2010. A whirlwind of collaborative creative energy resulted in the release of the rollicking full length album, shortly after.

Over the next two years, we solidified our lineup by adding Collin on bass through a Craigslist posting. After nearly a year with that lineup, we had a change on drums, and Jeremiah was brought into the fold. Through Jeremiah's recommendation, we started recording some new songs with Derek engineering. After a short time in the studio, it was clear Derek was a good fit, so we decided to invite him to join up on guitar and keyboards.

It feels like the right project for each of us because of where everyone is in life. It's not stressful; everyone gets along, contributes, and is realistic. We pour a lot of time and effort into the band, but each one of us has a "real" job. So, we are all on the same page as far as what this is all for. We want to have fun and do the best that we can.

GN: You all have a diverse background outside of American Revival. How do you feel all of your individual projects contribute to the sound of American Revival?

AR: We all bring our past and current influences to the table and collaborate; we don't set out to be or sound like anything in particular. We just go with what we think works and if it doesn't work, we aren't afraid to let it go.

Our first album had a little more country sound going on with the pedal steel and violin, but it wasn't enough to be defined as country. Through the addition of new band members (Collin, Jeremiah, and Derek), we have evolved some on this EP, but we think it still reflects who American Revival always has been- rootsy rock. Thomas writes all the lyrics, so there is consistency -- more states, heartaches, and memories on this release.

GN: What's the story behind the name Thank Ya Kindly?

AR: Thomas has been known to say "Thank ya kindly" quite a bit on stage. It has even turned into a drinking game at some of our shows, with the crowd taking a sip every time he says it. It's pretty funny. It's his obvious stage crutch, but he also really, really means it. We thought it made for a great EP name because it has a nice Southern politeness to it, and our sound is a little bit rootsy.

GN: Why only four songs on this EP? Do you have something else in store in the upcoming months?

AR: We do. Derek still records our music. We like to take our time to make sure everything sounds perfect, which means a single song can take months on end.  But we do plan to have a full length album out before the end of the year.

GN: What's the standout song on this EP?

AR: "95" really resonates with us.  It's got some good hooks, a sweet melody, and some pretty dark lyrics.

GN: What can we expect to see at the release show?

AR: Five guys having the time of their lives! We've added some extra audio and visual elements to the show which are a lot of fun. We're also selling 75 limited-edition, handmade, individually numbered CD copies of Thank Ya Kindly.

American Revival will release Thank Ya Kindly at Mayslack's on Friday, March 8, 2013 with The Hooplah, The Right Here, and Jeff Rolfzen.
21+, $5, 9 pm

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