American Grenadine is the debut album from Los Angeles’ the Rose Petals. Out on 23 April, the LP has been over a dozen years in the making. Songwriting duo Peter Donovan (All the Real Girls) and Elijah Ocean had been acquainted since 2008 but only after Donovan made a cross-country tour visiting the graves of US presidents in 2016 did the pair finally realize their dream of working together. With songs about 11 presidents, the album is often reminiscent of the sweet jangle rock of R.E.M. and the Gin Blossoms.
The new single, “Welcome the the Big Top,” is about Warren G. Harding, who occupied the White House from 1921 to 1923, becoming a widely popular figure in his brief tenure. After his death, a series of scandals came to light, which damaged his standing in Americans’ eyes. In addition to extramarital affairs and violating prohibition, there was the teapot Dome, which ultimately saw his Interior Secretary going to jail after taking bribes.
The Rose Petals create a mini-history lesson for listeners amid the track’s three minutes and change.