Brand new, never played and still sealed in the factory plastic seal
CALIFORNIA is one of the American Music Club's most straightforward, roots-rock-oriented releases. It's certainly the most country-flavored, as arid desert landscapes mix with twangy guitars and folksy acoustic strumming. The anomalous "Bad Liquor" turned out to be one of the most-requested songs in the band's repertoire. It's a raging, punky rocker in which singer Mark Eitzel plays the drunken fool looking for trouble or the next drink, whichever comes first. Conversely, "Jenny" is a quiet, ominous, acoustic ballad full of low-key sorrow, and there are parts of the harrowing "Laughing Stock" that are barely audible, as Eitzel's self-esteem vaporizes before our very ears amid gently rippling guitar arpeggios.
The opener, "Firefly," is really the mood-definer for the album, and its ostensibly upbeat arrangement masks the lyrics' bittersweet observations about the fleeting nature of happiness. "Somewhere" and "Pale and Skinny Girl" are portraits of non-beautiful losers in the classic AMC mold, the former sounding like it could be a Replacements outtake. Eitzel's existential angst is at its most appealing on "Lonely"; over a steady-rolling folk-rock backing, he reaches new heights (depths?) of alienation with the chorus "If I have to be this lonely, I might as well be alone."
5. Pale Skinny Girl
6. Blue And Grey Shirt
7. Bad Liquor
8. Now You're Defeated
10. Western Sky
11. Highway 5
12. Last Harbor
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Round Flat Records
PO Box 1676
Amherst New York 14226
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