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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
AM/FM
Mutilate Us
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Listening to AM/FM's newest release and seeing the Polyvinyl tags all over it is somewhat of a conflicting audio/visual sequence for me. I had all but given up on Polyvinyl in the past year or so after a slew of boring and obviously premeditated releases by the likes of Sunday's Best and Hey Mercedes, but AM/FM offers up a great album that in one fell swoop changes my outlook on a whole lot of things

Don't get me wrong, this album isn't perfect. For instance, I could do without the buttery, upbeat, skip-in-my-step "You and Me at 53", but my reservations are quickly let loose with "Those Long Arms" and "Yours Recklessly". Like most good albums, yes, Mutilate Us is hard to categorize, but it isn't so much because of its eclectic tastes (which it does have, ironically) but more because the things that make it "work" are vastly different than the things that make it not "work". When former Franklinite Brian Sokel relies too heavily on the bubble gum and Beach Boys style of pop hypnotism that quickly sinks "You and Me at 53" this listener finds himself ready to grab his tattered gym bag and head for the back door. There is also an overabundance of instances where perfectly good songs are chopped off bluntly or begun in haste rather than allowing for a natural song-to-song flow to develop. No, perfect it is not. But damn good, it is.

For the most part, however, Sokel and songwriting compadre Michael Parsell deliver a quirky and infectious batch of pop experiments that come off feeling terribly well thought out despite being very scatterbrain in a toned down way that is more Beta Band than it is Beck. The duo's self professed lack of attaining a rigid structure by which the songs are reassembled each time out is much more of an asset than a liability, the element of spontaneity contributing to the whimsical nature of these documented compositions.

Aside from the obvious pop dysfunctions that litter the aural landscape here my major complaint is the brevity of this album. Each time through, just as Sokel's acoustic guitar winds down and through the drum cadence and layers of smoky ringing piled on through "Mutilate Us" I am ready for intermission, not the curtain.

The briefness of the album, when taken alongside the inclusion of some filler material and the lack of a natural progression to the songs leaves me to believe that AM/FM has a lot of ground to cover in their quest for an identity. Luckily for them, Mutilate Us presents enough evidence of promise to inspire my interest in subsequent documentations of their journey.

Reviewed by Avery Jones


See other reviews by Avery Jones

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