Don't judge an album by it's cover. It's a cliché that continues to ring true. The Little Heroes Cinematic Americana is a great example. So you're looking at the picture on the cover with its brush and wheat fields set against a midwestern sky. And then you casually notice the title, "Cinematic Americana." Between the two, you more than likely have a preconceived notion of what kind of earthy folky, perhaps heartland rocky, or maybe even indie artsy album you're about to experience. The only problem is that at times it could be any of those things. And at other times it will be still more things. And in the end there might be more things than the average person is willing to shuffle.
The album opens with "Flight Plan for Airplanes," which is everything the album title promises. A gentle wisp of a song augmented by light accompaniment and lush strings. But it's a somewhat deceptive opening for the rest of the album that follows.
"September Falls" immediately shifts gears and takes us into some pop-punk territory. It's given a classier treatment than usual, but still carries some of the requisite touches. But by the time "Teeth" comes on, the shift is now complete. It's nice enough, but are we already missing the stated promise of an album?
And then "Thank You" comes on and sounds like what track two should have sounded like. An upbeat but jangly song with a rich and catchy melodic sensibility. At this point it would be nice to think that we've settled into a groove for the album. But then "New End Game" comes on and we enter yet another phase of the record. Along with the songs "After All" and "Don't Stop," the group is able to pull off a dead-on impersonation of The Gin Blossoms. It's well done, but only adds to the lack of direction so far displayed.