Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hanging by a thread

Inspired tonight to post the above. Meant to do this for some time actually.

The first time I saw American Music Club was at the Princess Charlotte pub in Leicester in 1989. I saw them again a number of times, especially in the early nineties and still look back on those gigs with a mixture of complete and undiluted awe and numbing puzzlement as to why they were not simply embraced by every right thinking music fan as the last great band - and of course selfishly grateful that they were not.

There's so little film available of that precious period in the band's trajectory when they were not only completely and utterly on fire, but also still had an energy about them which always dissipates slightly with maturity. This film of 'Gratitude Walks' was near the end of that time, but it still holds me like I were a rabbit in headlights.

Please tell me, as a representative group of music lovers - put me out of my misery once and for all - what was it about AMC which failed so spectacularly to set light to the whole world?


AliMunday said...

Sourpus - I've not come across them before, but if this is representative of what they do, then it's a bit depressing. That's not to say it isn't good, but it may be why they didn't catch the collective imagination. Me,I'm famous for liking 'music to slit your wrists by', as my mate calls it.

sourpus said...

And there in lies the rub Ali, I think. Uni-browed but as-fully-committed-as-they-come Mark Eitzel became known for a writing style exactly like this, which I suppose does immediately introduce itself as a tad 'troubled'. Maybe this is the bottom line - the anxious early Nineties made a space for them which dissipated when the Blair years arrived (although I personally, I didnt see a difference). The thing is, once you took the time to get over that initial sense of wanting to pass this much pain by, you realised that first impressions can be deceptive - AMC were all heart, soft on the inside and full of hope which many people didnt seem to spot - or maybe stopped looking for when the tide of the times appeared to change. For me though, never has a song writer (apart from Leonard Cohen himself perhaps) made so much sense of the lines 'there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in'.

I'd be happy to hear what anyone else thinks, especially if they actually gave Mr Eitzel a go before.

sourpus said...

Just realised that that's Eddi Reader applauding there at the end...its quite interesting for me to note how many of the-lighter-side-of-pop's saddest voices were such fans of Eitzel (Tracey Thorne, Neil Hannon, etc.)

Shoegazer said...

Love this band & the new LA based incarnation are great too. Not sure that sadcore, or whatever you want to call it, will ever hit the mainstream, unless as with Joy Division, something outside of music catches the the media focus for all the wrong reasons.

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Reason can answer questions, but imagination has to ask them.