The Ready Stance’s Wrecking Ball rolls through the vast plains of vintage American rock while remaining a freshly-minted proposition. With its sloppy elegance and ragged glory, the second track on the Cincinnati band’s debut album, Damndest, elicits comparisons with the most venerated Americana. From the Rickenbacker arpeggios and plangent harmonies of The Byrds to the scuffed, anthemic alt-rock of The Replacements, Wrecking Ball contains multitudes while never being slavishly deferential to this illustrious canon. The radio friendly melody and fusillade of guitars, chiming and overdriven, all seem instantly familiar but unforced and energized like the work of barroom virtuosos. A shared love of The Band, Big Star, Television and VU is what brought guitarists Wes Pence (ex-Middlemarch) and Chase Johnston together and Wrecking Ball neatly distils these myriad influences; organic power-pop with crackling electricity coursing through its veins.
It sounds warm and fuzzy but the lyrics with their ‘diamonds and pearls in a trailer park world’ and running ‘canyon facial cream’ suggest an elegy of wasted potential and faded grandeur. This is the slow decline of those American lives without second acts that Fitzgerald warned of, hence the reference to long-forgotten teen star Jan Vincent. The song’s compassion and contempt for its subject recalls the poetic complexities of Warren Zevon’s The French Inhaler and Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. Hyperbolic praise? Perhaps but The Ready Stance are already attracting the attention of such luminaries as The Feelies’ Stan Demeski and Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz and Wrecking Ball’s classicist ‘retro glow’ feels like it has always been with us.