American Music Club

Before parting ways ten years ago, American Music Club forged a multihued, angst-induced sound. After reconvening earlier this year, the group articulates the disenfranchisement and alienation of the new millennium with the ironically titled Love Songs for Patriots. It's a series of confessional encounters, from the male stripper of "Patriot's Heart" who has sold his body and soul, to the narrator baring his hypocrisy in "America Loves the Minstrel Show." The pervading melancholia and the seemingly schizoid arrangements -- or, as "Mantovani The Mind Reader" suggests, "shotgun melody for a tympani sky" -- underscore this air of instability. So when "Only Love Can Set You Free" finds singer Mark Eitzel confessing, "I've been so lucky," the optimism seems fleeting indeed.

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Lee Zimmerman