Know By Heart

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

At first I was disappointed with this release. In previous efforts, American Analog Set had crafted a certain quasi-instrumental aesthetic, creating a world where vocals were not always necessary and, if occasionally long and droning, their songs reflected a certain neoclassical, Tortoise-like structure.

In altering that formula, though, I think the band has found a new pop sensibility that appears disposable but is in fact catchy enough to stay.

Though the band no longer produces music as interesting or original as it did, what appear to be slight, soft pop songs with little drive remained in my head - and pleasantly so - for days at a time.

Fans of dream-pop, Stereolab and Air will certainly enjoy these blissy pop numbers. The album is a soothing listen and there several tracks, notably "Punk as Fuck," "Postman" and "Kindness of Strangers" that shine through.

The shorter songs are as carefully crafted as the band’s earlier, longer pieces, weaving farfisa and vocals in and out over the steady drumming and repetitive guitar rhythm. There is little build and release or variation within songs here, but in its spare way, AmAnSet is working on its own hushed pop groove.

Rating: B+

Reviewed by Crispin Havernill
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