Listen Up: Wednesday, December 15, 2004
files\2004-12-15\LUP1.JPG
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
American Music Club

Love Songs for Patriots (Merge Records)

By Matthew Smith

A title like Love Songs for Patriots, in a time like this, suggests civil disobedience. A glance through the track listing (e.g., “America Loves The Minstrel Show,” “Only Love Can Set You Free,” etc.) only further bolsters the notion.

But that’s about all there is — an oblique idea. The long-awaited return of San Francisco’s American Music Club after 10 years is — like much modern music — a stylistic mishmash. Country, pop, rock, folk, they all figure in. The weirdest thing is that for all its sonic eclecticism, Love Songs for Patriots comes off sounding ... awfully the same. Which would be OK if the band brought the rock, not the schlock (as in the aforementioned “Only Love Can Set You Free,” which, with its tired peace-love-and-happiness vibe, is ready-made for Triple-A stations nationwide).

This all isn’t to say that Love Songs for Patriots is worthless. It’s good in a lot of parts. “Ladies & Gentlemen” attaches strange jazzy-cocktail-swing atmospherics to (almost) industrial rhythms and somehow makes them work together. “Patriot’s Heart” is a sweet, tender vignette of life in a strip club. The disc’s back half ranges from upbeat to gorgeous. Check the long, rich fade out of “The Devil Needs You” for proof of the latter.

Grown-up rock doesn’t automatically mean bad — just usually. After all, Tom Waits is grown-up rock. Not that AMC compares to Waits, because they test your patience too frequently and Waits is a genius, but they show that they can at least achieve brilliance — even if only for a few songs.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions