Will I fall into a cool, cool river?/Or will I fall into a frozen lake?" sings Mark Eitzel on American Music Club's seventh album, summarizing the band's chipper MO: You're gonna fall – just where is the question.
San Francisco follows 1993's major-label debut, Mercury, but this time around the Bay Area quintet offers a more seamless sound, avoiding some of the arty confusion that plagued that record. The songs now flow naturally on dark and weighty pop lines instead of scattering inside "clever" musical arrangements.
Eitzel sings about love, love and more love: "I don't need anyone's love/I couldn't afford it anyway/With my penny's worth of hope/It's not funny, but it's a joke." His deep, breathy voice bends awkwardly in frustration and bottoms out into whispered loneliness. Lines such as "Twist the light so it shines down on us/And wait together for the touch of something more" expose the idealist at the core of every cynic. But SF holds more than just the stuff of daily journals. Eitzel lets his cheap-apartment romanticism ooze in slick, detached vocals. The simple pop lines and slow ballads are filled with stunning guitar work – from spare and distant acoustic to surreal pedal steel and slide to caressing feedback. The rhythms are delicate and sad (occasionally evoking Joy Division), then cocky and catchy, riding freely under the effects of winding bagpipes, jangly tambourines and rushing wind.
AMC's San Francisco does not signal the second coming of Van Morrison or even the Replacements. Instead, it's just pretty music for emotional down-and-outs who still harbor a penny's worth of hope. Source: [rollingstone.com]
American Music Club - Hello Amsterdam
2. It's Your Birthday
3. Can You Help Me?
4. Love Doesn't Belong
5. Wish the World Away
6. How Many Six Packs Does It Take to Screw in a Light
7. Cape Canaveral
8. Hello Amsterdam
9. The Revolving Door
10. In the Shadow of the Valley
11. What Holds the World Together
12. I Broke My Promise
13. The Thorn in My Side Is Gone
14. I'll Be Gone
15. Fearless (Reprise)