My loyalties are somewhattoward the album, with my pathetic excuse for the album being how oftenare we (AMC/Eitzel fans) going to have an AMC tribute album come downthe track? One could take the view that something is better thannothing. However, that sort of argument grows sour very quickly. Wouldyou rather have the shoddy film "Man On The Moon" or would you ratherhave no Andy Kaufman biopic at all? This kind of question irks me whenit comes to entertainment; I'm guessing that a real answer is hard tofind.
That said, for anyone who has yet to pick the album up yet...uh...let'sjust say that maybe you should put it on the back burner for now.Hearing the first chords of the opening song "What Holds The WorldTogether" done by Ida was in itself one of the best music experiencesthis year, priming me for an album in which almost every single songsounds the same. For the most part the songs are played and arranged"as is"--no interesting and/or notable departures that usually make thetedious genre of tribute albums bearable. These are hard words towrite; I can barely play music myself and applaud the kind of effortthat goes into a project such as this, but some of these musiciansalmost make AMC out to be a parody that so many tried to peg the bandas, a sad, mopey bedsit band incapable of rocking or doing anythingrequiring more than emotion.
But in his defense, Paul Austin cops to so much in the liner notes: "Arecord aiming to represent the whole sonic scope of AMC would includenot only songs of love and hope so heart-wrenching your knees mightbuckle; it would include also a dose of flailing dissonance, a dollopof honky tonk pun tossing, and the occasional flat out rocker. This,unapologetically, is not that record." Um, then what is it? A showcaseof 12 very talented musicians basically covering AMC and not doing itwith very much variety? I'm sure we're all tired of the music mediapigeonholing AMC and Eitzel as nothing but dour, sad miserablists.Maybe I'm going out on a limb, but it's the hope and beauty that all oftheir music gives out that make me listen to their music, not what somepeople believe to be their token "oh isn't the world just unrepentantlyshitty" attitude.
But, I suppose, a sub-par AMC tribute album is better than no AMCtribute album at all...and much of this music is quite pretty andsoothing to listen to on a cold Northern Ohio night when there's awinter weather advisory, no less. But taking into account that I am alazy git who applauds the fact that it was put together at all, itcould have been better.