Friday, February 15, 2008

Reviews:: American Music Club The Golden Age

The songs that Mark Eitzel writes are kind of like the trusty drinking buddy you can call when times are bad. They are quite willing to hoist a pint with you, embrace your sadness and offer a few optimistic suggestions that might make you feel a bit better before you buy the next round. The thing is, that drinking buddy only gets the call when life is knocking you down and I kind of feel the same way about AMC.

It doesn't really matter that Mark says he has a more positive outlook on life. No the way he naturally channels painful emotions forces you into a darker place.

Musically, The Golden Age is extremely easy to digest (although, the swirling chaos of On My Way is about as dark as it gets) as the band ventures into summery California pop and surprisingly lighter sounds. On the surface, this is a happier record, but despite the shimmer of the package the contents are still enough to knock the wind out of your soul. You are constantly hit with images of sadness and hopelessness.

"No one here is going to save you."

The band really seems in sync on The Golden Age, knowing when to lighten the mood and when to enhance the sadness. Nowhere is this more evident than the dream like feel of The Windows on the World. The song is a tale of a tourist in NYC, and while it is a World Trade story, to me it's more a story of finding a friendship at the bottom of a shared bottle in some bizarre bar room camaraderie. The steel guitar that shows up really puts you in that same hazy state, inebriated state. My favorite track - Decibels and Little Pills - crackles in the same way. The songs takes on a much more natural feel and the band seems to be manipulating the notes to match Eitzel's emotion.

Sadly, their 9th record will probably bring exactly as many sales as their previous efforts. Their music isn't for everyone, as the true greatness of the songs really only comes when you start looking deeper and letting emotion take over from the floating melodies. Most radio listeners don't want that to invest that much into a record (emotion or time), but if you are a fan of AMC, you won't be disappointed.

[MP3]:: All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco
This is another perfect example of the beautiful contrast on this record. The music is uplifting (almost soulful at times) and nothing like the loneliness a lost soul should command. That's the great thing about AMC, you can smile and sing along to "I went looking for a life no one would mourn."

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Posted at 5:14 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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