A stunning display from a young, talented Detroiter.
Over five self-released tracks, the chameleonic quality of John FM's gravelly delivery is on full display. On "Holster," his sweet falsetto lays out the tale of a shooting at a party, a perfect foil for the pensive synth progression, sax flourishes, and gritty subject matter. "Lockjaw [7 Deadly Winnin']," a paean to the seven deadly sins, sees him dropping into a deadpan, heavy-lidded rap, while on the opening and closing tracks, "February" and "Forever," we hear John FM in his natural range - a heavily-syncopated tenor. An entire review could be written about the vocals and lyrics, yet the production stands out as well, a stepping, raw mix of R&B and lo-fi house.
In the must-read press release for American Spirit, John FM says these songs were written over the past half-decade, taking five years to make sense together. He goes on to make incisive comments on how American street life and racial politics have become a theater for the world, underlining the necessity of reclaiming the art form. On American Spirit, we hear the young Detroiter wrestling with these themes while coming to terms with his own staggering talent.