For those who like to dig below the surface for their musical gratification, this fits...
Helen Groom 2008-02-01
American Music Club is one of the seemingly endless parade of bands who find success, split up, and then decide that maybe that music lark wasn’t so bad after all. The question is whether their new output is good enough to make anyone pay attention.
New album The Golden Age will never get your heart racing, it simply lacks the energy to do so. You could easily listen to this album without really hearing it, noticing its absence at the end rather than its presence throughout. That is not to say it is terrible; it isn’t. It’s actually quite nice, with a laid-back, smooth, sometimes sweet, feel to it. But there is little musically here to hook your ears onto.
As a listener you have to put a bit more effort in here to get to the good stuff. Take The Sleeping Beauty for example. Musically, it just isn’t all that special, but the lyrics are beautifully mournful and poetic.
The John Berchman Victory Choir is lazily beautiful, with the harmonies adding a rich fullness to the gentle, engaging sound. Windows On The World uses country-infused slide guitar to create a dreamy, drunken feeling, a great counterpoint to a lyrical ode to the World Trade Centre, with the buzzing, distorted ending flagging up impending doom.
Decibels And The Little Pills has more pace to it, with its sweet tune sounding a perfect fit for Radio 2. But the sad images provoked by the words puncture the up beat backing like a kick to the gut.
Less good are I Know That’s Not Really You and On My Way, both of which could be skipped over without any great loss. Much nicer is closer The Grand Duchess Of San Francisco, its bittersweet lyrics the highlight of the album.
The Golden Age is unlikely to win a legion of new fans, but for those who like to dig below the surface for their musical gratification, this fits the bill.