American Music Club Love Songs for Patriots

During the nine years since American Music Club decided to split, Mark Eitzel has released seven solo albums, none of which ever managed to live up to the high standards set by his previous band’s work. He did come close on occasion, but something was always lacking. It turns out it was his AMC band-mates. Sounding just like a follow-up to Mercury should, Love Songs for Patriots demonstrates that American Music Club didn’t call it a day because of a lack of good ideas. Plus it confirms that there is a rare synergy that elevates this to the level of being one of the year’s best albums. The band now have a focus that they always seemed to lack, and Eitzel comes right out of the gates with "Ladies And Gentlemen” spitting bile and venom about the current political state of the U.S. That topic rears its head throughout the album, but Love Songs for Patriots is also blessed with some of the band’s most beautiful, optimistic songs ever, such as the wonderful "Another Morning.” There are several that could be called downright happy, yet there’s nothing fake or cloying about the more conventional love songs and it is kind of nice to hear Eitzel with his heart on his sleeve, minus the usual cynicism. It isn’t without moments of darkness and black humour and it is the well-rounded nature of the album that makes it one of the best that American Music Club have ever recorded. Love Songs for Patriots is a superb return from a band who never got the credit they deserved last time round; this should put that right. (Merge)