What would it sound like if The Eagles joined forces with the Zac Brown Band? It might resemble “American Blend,” Phoenix Highway’s EP released last December. In five tracks,the band of Elon University students and alumni successfully pinned down the sounds of the South with traces of rock and pop that appeal to the masses.
The album starts off fast with “Young & Reckless,” an upbeat dose of nostalgia. The tribute to adolescence has some addicting melodies, but the lyrics conjure visions of kids and keg parties. This mysteriously juvenile opener leaves something to be desired, but be patient — otherwise strong songwriting across the EP proves Phoenix Highway can be more than a college town ensemble.
After one minor hiccup, “Olde Fashion Runaway” slows down the album with powerful lyrics and an incredible melody. The ability of Phoenix Highway to balance the soul of the South with the authority of rock is one of the band’s strengths, and this ballad is proof of that.
Storytelling lyrics and solid country beats carry the EP to its last track. From the tale of a country girl lost in the shuffle of rock ‘n’ roll, to the too-good-to-be-true quality of young love, these guys have it covered.
The styles and themes of “American Blend” vary greatly, but the band’s commitment to a fusion of quality vocals and unique sound is consistent from start to finish. The audible passion Phoenix Highway emits seems perfect for a road trip, summer afternoon or any day of the week — on or off Elon’s campus.