It's amazing how overwhelming the past few weeks have been. I think we are all, especially us New Yorkers, suffering from varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Even the most mundane of our daily activities have been altered in light of the tragedy that struck our nation; an airplane flying overhead induces fear, putting on an article of clothing that once seemed fashionable now seems to reek of vanity, laughing at times feels inappropriate, and oddly enough I stopped listening to music for a couple of weeks and hardly even noticed. Silence has just seemed like a better fit.
I finally broke down a few days ago and the bought the new record by The American Analog Set, Know by Heart. This band has been recommended to me by numerous people of late and I immediately knew I had spent my 15 bucks wisely.
Know by Heart has been a perfect distraction for me. It is an extremely rhythmic and melodic collection of songs that expresses pop in the most subtle of ways. Best of all, there is no darkness or melancholy to this record, something that has kept me away from bands like Low given my already lethargic state of mind. American Analog Set have instead put together a record whose super-mellow production is as relaxing as a pair of massaging hands on overly stressed shoulders.
This Austin-based Quartet is most reminiscent of The Sea and Cake, only with a fuzzier and warmer sounding bass that pushes sustain to borderline drone. Guitar and bass driven repetitions have the hypnotic seduction of Stereolab at their best. Lead guitar and vocalist Andrew Kenny, has a relaxed and often whispery quality on the mic that is a perfect compliment to AMS's sound. There is not a band song to be found on Know by Heart and the band proves equally competent on the instrumental as they are on the vocal driven numbers.
I still often prefer silence, but Know by Heart has made a few hours here and there a little bit brighter.
-- Robert Lanham