Check out the Chicago duo’s Dennis Wilson-inspired ballad “Your Mere Presence” by clicking here.
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[MP3] “Your Mere Presence”: http://tinyurl.com/theams-yourmerepresence
The Ams is an orchestral pop duo from Chicago consisting of siblings Frank (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Anna Carey (keyboards, vocals). The Ams debut album, The Release of An American Soul, a collection of thirteen tracks that showcases the siblings’ knack for crafting deeply-layered tunes, is set for release on October 6th via the their own Shields Records.
Frank, in the role of producer, draws heavily from the influences of producers like Joe Meek, Phil Spector, and Jeff Lynne, composing and arranging all of the album’s string and horn parts himself. The countless overdubs set to two-inch tape at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio Studios, are all the work of Frank and Anna alone, as well.
Frank’s songwriting also represents a wide variety of influences, seen with the Dennis Wilson-inspired ballad “Your Mere Presence,” (MP3) the Brazilian samba sound of “Godspeed Your Safe Return,” and the swinging sixties London vibe of “Saturday Afternoon.” The Ams’ desire to learn from the past but also move into new territories can perhaps best be seen on the album’s final track, “The Death of an American.” Here the band creates an experimental opus that runs longer than thirteen minutes, showing that The Ams have an affinity for the musique concrete leanings of bands like Spiritualized, and fellow Chicagoans, Wilco.
And while the melodies of the album overall reflect a hopeful and positive spirit, the lyrics, often, are anything but. Lyrically speaking, The Release of An American Soul is a dark, brooding album that dwells upon recurring themes of death, despair, and failed love. These apparent obsessions are not what one would expect from two single siblings in their mid-twenties!
The songs constitute a concept album that loosely tells the story of a fictional sixties icon who obsesses over the themes of aging, dealing with broken relationships, an unfulfilled past, and an imminent death. Ultimately, the identity of who this sixties icon is based on is left open although vague references are scattered throughout the album -- California is mentioned, England, various places in Europe… but ultimately the death proclaimed in the last song is only explained as “the release of an American soul.”
Artist: The Ams
Title: The Release of An American Soul
Label: Shields Records
Release: October 6th, 2009
“Your Mere Presence”: MP3
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