AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB The Golden Age (Merge)
Contrary to popularly-held opinion, I actually thought that San Francisco – AMC’s last album before the recent renaissance – was AMC’s finest effort.
Fourteen years after that seminal album comes the Golden Age, the second release in AMC’s 2nd incarnation, which now counts only singer Mark Eitzel and guitarist Vudi as surviving founder members.
The Golden Age, unlike San Francisco though, is a straightforward proposition with classic 70s singer-songwriter templates high on the agenda.
Eitzel is in good voice, rich and pleasing to the ear, singing these new songs with clarity and assurance, and though Vudi has eschewed much of his signature atmospherics, the guitar playing is still of the top drawer.
That said, The Sleeping Beauty is a fragile wonder – layered with shimmering acoustic guitars, faint pedal steels and gorgeous backing vocals. Lovely. As is All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco with its jaunty and jazzy soft-rock bliss illuminating the proceedings.
The rest of The Golden Age does not stray too far from this approach – whispery vocals and gently-plucked strings wrapped inside mid-tempo rhythms.
Adult country-folk music that bridges the gap between alternative and retro. A fitting addition to the AMC canon.
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