American Music Club
The Golden Age


4.0
excellent

Review

by fireaboveicebelow USER (108 Reviews)
December 15th, 2008 | 12 replies | 2,031 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Back in the early 1990’s, a little band called Red House Painters was having a tough time getting recognition. At the time they were playing the Bay Area circuit for 2 years, but lucky for them a fan of the band, Mark Eitzel of American Music Club, caught them at a show, and approached them after. Mark Kozelek was a fan of the band, and since Eitzel was so impressed with their show, he pulled the strings to get the band in the studio as soon as he could. Thus was born Down Colorful Hill. But what of American Music Club? They started their career back in ‘86 with little recognition in the states, but a sort of cult following in Europe with their record California. They continued releasing mostly ignored material until 1995 when they split up.

Obviously, a reunion occurred hence this review, but the sad thing is that the reunion spawned a rather haphazard comeback record, dismissing them from any previous fan. And yet here they are, 4 years later, with The Golden Age; an album of arid and heartwarming tones, preserving Eitzel’s style of splattering his emotion straight on the record through his lyrics. So why now, out of their 20 year career should you begin your dive into their music? Because you’re missing out on some of the most honest and professional songs in America’s rock/folk underground.

If you recall Elvis Costello’s King of America, you witnessed a completely stripped down record following his more eclectic releases, such as Truth, but you also know it was one of his most worthwhile recordings. This is a similar path AMC have taken. They somewhat abandon a chaotic and hectic structure to venture into an intimate, indoor club setting. Among the fog of the passive negative atmosphere flies fluttering, dreamlike acoustics and steady drum patterns, inducing a very calm, yet somewhat dark, feeling where the lyrics are your lullabies for the night.

In fact, the lyrics are one of the main highlights of the album. Eitzel has mastered his own personal palette of poetry, depending on the music to create the uplifting mood while he croons on about personal stories of hopelessness, all negative forms of love, and those skeletons we wish to veil. His writing style makes it seem like there is no exaggeration, and he can somehow place any certain event in his life straight on paper with great detail.

Decibels and little pills and all the thrills you steal from the moon
holding hands, bright new friends, names are only good for gravestones
because he was sweet and so was she and you need that love to fill the dark
but time is a current that only flows from warms hands to warm hearts
but no one here will ever save you


Many of the lyrics you cannot simply take out an excerpt because of their attribute of being a part of the rest of the song, meaning they have more effect when taken in all at once. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you take in a record, but either way the lyrics are able to stand alone.

That’s not to say the music’s dreary and forgetful. On the contrary, in addition to the foundation of the acoustics, you have sparse areas of keyboards/organs, a bit of accordion, marching band brass, and Vudi’s keen habits of adding guitar effects. Vudi uses them to bring the atmospherics to new levels, especially on the track The Windows on the World. Starting below the mix, he incorporates these violent, wind-like sounds played on guitar, and throughout the song brings them to louder and louder levels to contradict the carefree chord progressions. He uses distortion sparingly, but when does it adds a sort of modern folk feel to the song, an interesting combination with the older lounge, even some of The Damned techniques (see the solo in The Dance).

Unfortunately the album starts falls apart for the last two songs. They lack variation from the rest of the album and don’t really have the grabbing hands pulling you into a setting that the other songs embellish. Aside from that, the album serves its purpose as a fluctuating folk novel settling your heartbeat while it loses your soul adrift the scenery. Enjoy the trip.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoctorNurse
December 15th 2008



475 Comments


Man, you seem to have a new review everyday

fireaboveicebelow
December 15th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that's only recently, I've been here for almost a year now, and 8/10 of my stuff is from september to now, but I'm on a mission to spread around some stuff people may not know about, so I guess I'm almost doing my job, the readers have to do the other half

HINT HINT PEOPLEThis Message Edited On 12.15.08

bastard
December 15th 2008



3435 Comments


oh look something to ignore cool

jk good review, might check out.

DoctorNurse
December 15th 2008



475 Comments


I'm meanwhile struggling to find the time to knock out a 2nd.
Not sure if this is something I'd like.
EDIT: pos'dThis Message Edited On 12.15.08

fireaboveicebelow
December 15th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no worries, I've got 28 other reviews of stuff you might like ;)

Shoichi
December 15th 2008



2 Comments


I tend to be partial to their album Mercury. Anyways good review!

fireaboveicebelow
December 15th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're my favorite new guy, I love Mercury

Matt?
December 16th 2008



12 Comments


i think the red house painters reference is unnecessary and brings it off to a wierd start.

fireaboveicebelow
December 16th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why's that

Matt?
December 18th 2008



12 Comments


because i don't think that AMC giving them a helping hand is really some kind of noteworthy achievement or anything... it's not like by saying that people are impressed. it's a wierd little band history fact to throw in that has no real correlation to the album in review. it would be like if i reviewed a ride album and started it off with "Do you know a little band called slowdive? Well This band Ride did a split with them! Isn't that cool? They MUST be good then"... when in reality neither band is far more significant to warrant that kind of statement.

fireaboveicebelow
December 18th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

actually I feel it is significant because RHP is popular around here, and if it werent for that event they wouldnt exist, its just an attention getter nothing more, my last American Music Club review went unnoticed so I figure I'd give some incentive to check the band out

Doppelganger
February 9th 2009



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't know how I missed this. About to give this a first listen. Good review, also.



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