Wish the World Away: Mark Eitzel and the American Music Club
by Sean Body
That Mark Eitzel remains virtually unknown is a proverbial example that genius often goes unrewarded. In a decade musically defined by ironic, emotional detachment, Mark Eitzel’s music (both with and without his former band, American Music Club) provides a visceral counterweight to this lack of substance. Although self-deprecating in concert, his recordings bristle with a sense of urgency and escape, of loss and redemption. His music celebrates those who have been left behind, either through poor choices or their own paralyzing inadequacies.
In Sean Body’s recent biography, Wish the World Away: Mark Eitzel and the American Music Club , he traces the trajectory of a band that for a period of time in the Nineties was poised to be the next “big thing,” and instead of breaking big, broke up. In many ways, Body’s work operates on several levels. On one level, it is a cautionary tale for young bands on how not to proceed in the music business. This is demonstrated time and time again through the petty, internecine battles that erupted within the band and between their most ardent defenders and managers. On another level, and perhaps most appealing to fans of Mark Eitzel, he demonstrates the more salient themes that animate his work. The often present sense of dislocation, displacement, loss, and the manner in which Eitzel resolves these themes with his sometimes flagging belief in love.
All in all, this work is a solid piece of musical biography. A work that raises questions as well as answering them.