American Analog Set Set Free

Despite some interesting occurrences, the American Analog Set continue to make their subtle, quietly sublime masterpieces every two years or so, and Set Free will definitely please those who swooned over such past efforts like Know by Heart. With a light drumbeat and whispered declarations, opener "Born on the Cusp” keeps the foot tapping while also allowing plenty of time to inhabit the world urgently painted. Of course, for jaw-dropping beauty and American Analog Set at their depressive pop best, look to album highlight "She’s Half,” where the harmonising chorus and barely-there guitars make for the most transcendent piece of melancholy they’ve arranged to date. As with past releases, the volume does rise on occasion, but only just, as "Immaculate Heart 2” and "Jr” both tease, but, gloriously, American Analog Set don’t go for the easy payoff. As the guitars undulate and vibrate through closer "Fuck This…I’m Leaving,” you will be either swept away through their breathy intimacy or just exhausted, as the emotional content does pass the melodramatic Cmark more than a couple of times. Either way, Set Free will massage the senses like all great albums should. (Arts & Crafts)