Monday, April 14, 2008

Know By Heart - American Analog Set (SCQ Spring 2008)

Know By Heart

American Analog Set
Tigerstyle Records.

SCQ Rating: 81%

Like the groundhog who finds no shadow, Know By Heart is the sound of Amanset coming out of their shell. They’ve slept off the muted organ drones of The Golden Band and woken up to the familiar but refreshed indie combo (keyboard/xylophone/bass/guitar/drums) that makes ‘Punk as Fuck’ one of the band’s all-time best songs. It’s a good stretch out of hibernating slumber, a warm step into the melting Spring, and a lead-in to the band’s most charming effort yet.

Not to say they’ve changed too much… Know by Heart still finds Andrew Kenny and band turning out the recognizable songcraft; difference is, the album incorporates the bolder indie-rock of their early days to the eloquence of their more introspective work, making this their most accomplished. ‘Million Young’ is as audacious as anything they’ve written, while ‘We’re Computerizing and We Just Don’t Need You Anymore’ is the most soothing; a layered slice of melancholy that closes the record in dreamy fashion. As always, a shortlist of well-suited instrumentals are scattered but complimented by a dose of the band’s infrequent love-songwriting on the title track or the sweet ‘Aaron & Maria’.

Part of what makes this album so celebration-worthy is that it’s the first AmAnSet record you can rationally share with friends or lovers. Unlike the solitary requirements of their last record, these twelve songs are looking for company and surely Know By Heart will earn the Texas quintet a larger fan-base.

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