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Friday, 15 May 2009

American Analog Set - 'Through the 90s: Singles and Beyond' (Emperor Jones)

AmAnSet's final release for Emperor Jones has the slight feel of something you might release into a tissue, though I'm not sure why this is. The material is high quality enough - when it appeared on the 7" format, it worked really well, especially on songs like 'Diana Slowburner II' and 'Magnificent Seventies'. This is a long compilation that chops up the original chronology no doubt in an attempt to make it feel more like an 'album'. But instead of a Slip n Slide of Analog Set fun, it can't avoid sounding like an odds and ends collection (which, to be fair, it is). That early Fun of Watching Fireworks feel is a flaming stone away from the band's last few records, and it gets its last gasp. The organ-driven tension drives ahead with the tap-tap whirr, especially on songs like 'On My Way'. If the 'sounds the same' phenomenon was more applicable to the earlier material, compiling all of these tracks together really makes it apparent. The cover photo is a bit of a departure too, though a very visually enticing (almost candy-like) rollerskate pile it is. If I knew how to program the cheap portable Discman I use as a CD player I could try putting these tracks back in sequence and thus pretend I'm listening to all the AmAnSet 7"s I don't actually have; maybe that would feel a bit more cohesive. I gotta mention the rejected jingle 'Dr. Pepper' (as I sampled the beverage just yesterday) though I think they were lucky because it's way better as The Golden Band's 'The Wait' (for a time, probably my single favorite AmAnSet song, though now I give that award to 'Aaron and Maria'). I just love using the abbreviation AmAnSet but this is probably the last time as I dont have anything else to review by them here.

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