American Analog Set | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

American Analog Set 

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On their third and best album, The Golden Band (Emperor Jones), this Fort Worth quintet's fragile pop songs--constructed of gently strummed guitars, brittle but uncluttered bass lines, brushed drums, hushed organ chords, pretty piano arpeggios, and the occasional cool vibraphone riff--float comfortably between the obvious reference points. Even the 60s nods that speckled the last two albums have been laid to rest. They certainly share a sense of space and pacing with Tortoise, but the two could never be confused, and while the American Analog Set's slo-mo repetitive structures sometimes recall Galaxie 500 and Codeine, they don't build to predictable crescendos. The music doesn't always lie flat, but its development isn't measured in decibels. On "A Schoolboy's Charm," for example, the arrangement becomes a bit denser as the song moves along, guitar figures shape shifting here and there, and singer Andrew Kenny adds tension by tightening up his articulation, but ultimately the tune fades out the same way it came in. If you don't like watching waves roll in, this might not be your thing. L'Altra and Macha open. Thursday, July 29, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK


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