Music A.M.: My City Glittered like a Breaking Wave

The five songs on Music A.M.'s twenty-minute mini-album My City Glittered Like a Breaking Wave sound much like those on its debut album A Heart and Two Stars. And, as it turns out, the new songs were recorded at the same sessions although subsequently 'reworked, suspended, and melodified' by vocalist and guitarist Luke Sutherland (Mogwai), bassist Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot, Tarwater), and keyboard player Volker Bertelmann (Tonetraeger) at their Düsseldorf studio. As before, the trio's predominantly downtempo material is mellow, delicate, pretty, and wistful, with the band creating an undeniably full and well-crafted sound yet one diminished by a lack of memorable melodies or hooks, with the results sounding less like songs than lush mood settings. On the three vocal outings, Sutherland sounds like a slightly less affected and more breath-laden Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs); Sutherland's multi-tracked whispers intone the title over an Isan-like oasis of electronics, Rhodes , and guitars in “Don't Keep Me Waiting So Long” and his singing merges with a nice interweave of vibes and glissandi guitars in “Supercharge, I Adore You.” The two instrumentals are bucolic in feel, with “Elle” a particularly appealing setting of sparkling electronic flutter and gently plucked guitars. Still, the absence of a strong melodic dimension leaves one concluding that, while the EP is decent enough, its contents are also unspectacular and, frankly, rather bland.

April 2005