Label: Naim Edge Release date: 16/08/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon AM, a person fronting a collection of musicians from New Orleans to California, makes music to be sat down listening to. It throws back to some of the New Orleans style, the slowed down bassier style of music and the chilled out percussion (not too far from early Zero 7 I guess) with the smooth feel of California, with the more glistening sounds found on ‘It’s Been So Long’. It’s like a sideways step from both Air and jazz, it flows into its groove as an album, making you nod along but still pay attention. In a way, that’s also my biggest criticism of this album. Every song is well made and different, but it sounds all the same somehow. It works for bands like Women and Lovvers, but here it makes boredom. It’s only 37 minutes long, but by the fifth track, it can start to sound familiar. As I said before, all the songs are good, well thought through and catchy (see ‘A Complete Unknown’ for example, a stunning song) but they run into one. I would enjoy hearing a lot of these on compilations, but I don’t know whether it’s to do with the production technique, or because his voice seems the same on each song, or whether it’s simply because most of these songs seem on the slower side of average, or what, but the album looses songs to anonymity. Not even the Grizzly Bear-esque swelling of ‘Leavenworth’ or the funky sounds of ‘Grand Opinion’ or any of the songs can change this – this is beyond having a unique identity for your sound, this is blurring it all together as an album. Every song on here, as said before, is still well made. For example, the funk of aforementioned song ‘Grand Opinion’ is not too far removed from Belle and Sebastian’s later funky stylings, and it’s no worse either (perhaps only insofar as it lacks the epic charisma of Stuart Murdoch), but within the album it gets lost. I think the best way to describe it is a collection of good songs, but not a good album. That all being said, the album is well worth a listen. There are some really good bits in there, some really brilliant songs that can get lost in there. I would urge you to get it and try listening to it all the way through as many times as you can. In reviewing this, I’ve listened to it all the way through in order (innumerable times to get it to make sense), on shuffle, and each track while shuffling through other artists, and I’ve found the best way to appreciate it is via the latter. It’s a collection of songs that will sound great on a compilation, or on a playlist, or on a mixtape. It just doesn’t all fit together coherently as an album. Photobucket