The American Analog Set

Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased (Emperor Jones)

Record Reviews

The American Analog Set

Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased (Emperor Jones)

Summer heat, cool AC, soothing melodies, simple, sparse songs, and the Farfisa organ's mellow-yellow beauty: It's either a lazy Sunday dream or the American Analog Set. This best-of/rarities album is both a wonderful escape from the hot, cruel world, and for longtime fans, a trip down memory lane. Through the 90s is packed with alternate, often superior versions of the band's best songs, interesting one-offs, live cuts, and buried-treasure B-sides, all adorned with nice, scrapbook-style photos and an anecdote-filled etymology for each song. Lead cut "The Only Living Boy Around" emerges as a winner, a 1999 7-inch dominated by Andrew Kenny's easy-as-they come vocals woven around a clash between the Farfisa and the percussive sound of a finger sliding up the fretboard. All the best cuts are here from The Fun of Watching Fireworks, AmSet's memorable mid-Nineties first lullaby. "Diana Slowburner ii" appears as it did on their debut 45, while perky B-side "High Fidelity vs. Guy Fidelity" makes its CD debut. A version of the groovy "Magnificent Seventies" is here, and in case anyone had them pigeonholed as a one-trick pony, the band deals a pair of wild cards: a jittery, 1997 remix of From Our Living Room to Yours' "Don't Wake Me" by short-lived local electronic group Kitty, and a bizarrely inspired version of an old Dr. Pepper theme song. It's only 38 seconds long, but damn if it isn't the greatest soda-pop jingle (that never was) since "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."

**** 

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