The American Analog Set
Know By Heart
If there ever was a more appropriate visual metaphor for The American Analog Set, it’d be the layout to their fourth and latest LP, Know By Heart: on the cover, a heart made by guitar cables, and on the flipside, that same heart connecting to a noose. Apt, huh? Truly, AmAnSet craft hook-laden/chorus-free pop nuggets of the most pristine, headphone-ready variety • their most headphone-ready being the preceding The Golden Band, perhaps one of the best headphone records ever • that are surprisingly manic-depressive in their fuck-all lethargy despite the soothing, non-committal grooves being mined. Not so much a vertical progression from its predecessor as it is a horizontal one, Know By Heart finds the Set nixing the Farfisa of that same predecessor, upping the vibraphone quotient, piling high the metronomic pulses, and generally making the proceedings substantially more minimalist yet more upbeat at the same time. It’s that lattermost tradeoff which makes the album an ambivalent listen • if you’re a fan, you’ll dig it; if not, walk on by. Then again, maybe not, because if any accusations could be flung AmAnSet’s way, it’s that they’re too whispery for their own good, so who knows? Either way, another one to off yourself by.