American Music Club
The Golden Age
American Music Club are a band musicians like to namecheck as influential - especially, if, like Wilco, Richmond Fontaine, or Lambchop, you lean towards a certain type of Americana that leaves out mandolins and pedal steel for well-written songs and an intelligent delivery. Mark Eitzel's battle with alcoholism has directed the path the band has taken, from California and Mercury to some of the later, less well-received discs (and the 1994 to 2004 hiatus). In truth, The Golden Age is not in the top tier of AMC albums - it recalls Bread and later Eagles as much as anything, and has an air of written-to-a-deadline about some of the songs.
The depth that Eitzel was able to bring to a lyric like Johnny Mathis's Feet is missing on this 9th album, and the overall effect is a deep, abiding snooziness - with brushed drums, synth strings and nary a memorable tune in the set, The Golden Age may recall the early 70s in feel, but not melody. Eitzel aims for wistful recollection, and mostly gets it, but there isn't much life in the album. It is nice enough, but anyone coming to AMC via this record will wonder what all the fuss was about.