Just when all hope of ending 2011 auto tune and dub step free seemed lost, a light at the end of tunnel appeared to remind us what good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll sounds like. That light is My Girl Friday. Their new EP, American Kids, is a breath of fresh air in a smoke-filled room. With a newly found country twang, the Phoenix, AZ natives’ third studio EP embodies all the elements a good record should – honesty, talent, and an all around feel good sound. I dare you to give it one listen and not want to crack a beer open with your best friends and listen again.

The opening track, “Rolling Stone,” starts off slow, easing the listener into the band’s new sound. It’s clear from the first fifteen seconds how much Justin Godsey’s vocals have improved. Though there was nothing wrong with their old pop-punk feel, the new style puts less of a strain on Justin’s voice. A genre switch is always a risky move, but My Girl Friday pulls it off perfectly.

The first single off the EP, “American Kids,” is three minutes and seventeen seconds of clever, catchy wordplay. Each verse is drenched in pop culture references and carefully placed tambourine beats, and the chorus will get stuck in your head after the first listen. The Eric Church and Tim McGraw influences are obvious, and a perfect comparison.

The third track, “Home With You,” is thematically very similar to My Girl Friday’s older songs, but the storyteller feel of it makes it standout. The following track, “Live Forever,” is easily the most similar to the band’s older sound, but still a huge improvement from their previous attempts at the same theme.

The second single, “Down By The Water,” is definitely at the other end of the spectrum from “Live Forever.” Though quickly embraced by their fan base, the track is about as country as My Girl Friday is going to get. Starting off with a completely appropriate harmonica, the track pairs Justin’s vocals with Sara Robinson’s over gang vocals, giving it an all-American sound Kenny Chesney would be jealous of.

The final track, “Love Will Find You,” is without a doubt the best song My Girl Friday has ever written. The chorus, “to whom it may concern, good love will find you someday…” is downright poetic and even after 60 listens I’m still getting chills. It’s the kind of song that comes on when you’re in the car that makes you pull over just to soak it in, only to drive away feeling better about yourself. The record concludes on a positive note: “live well, live happy.”

They may have set themselves up to be the underdogs in the overly electronic music scene, but there is no doubt in my mind that the raw talent these young men possess will take them to incredible heights in 2012. It’s very rare that a band can do a complete 180 and do it right, but My Girl Friday did. If you weren’t one already, American Kids will make a country music fan out of you.

Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Catherine Powell