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Music review: The Quiet Americans
Music Review: The Quiet Americans
Album Title: Medicine (EP)
Released: April 2011
The wobbly uncertainty of a medium-fidelity, secondhand tape deck brings out the best in Fresno noise pop band The Quiet Americans on Medicine, their debut release. The band recorded the six-song EP on a Tascam 388 reel-to-reel recorder and mixer unit that singer/songwriter Luke Giffen bought from a friend of a friend for a hundred bucks. The 1980s era machine, still popular among self-recorded garage rock bands and analog purists, adds a fuzzy time-machine quality to Medicine that Giffen and company employ to great effect. “Be Alone” opens the EP with a gloss of guitar noise that feels a little warped and out of tune before drummer Eli Reyes powers the song forward. (Giffen and Reyes are the group’s main players; Simon Smeds, Steve Loveless, and Eric Peters join the live lineup now and again.) The second track and single, “Selia,” sounds like a hazy summer dream — the ooh’s and ahh’s of the chorus melt into a wash of organ swirl, cymbal smash, and Princeton reverb. The album’s middle selections would make a fitting soundtrack to a shoegaze sock hop alongside bands like The Raveonettes, Moon Duo, or any current Slumberland Records act. The closer, “Weird Mountain,” is the album’s standout. It shows a split personality, chugging along from the opening riff before guitar noise obliterates the hook and takes over the song. Each of the tracks on Medicine illustrates this quality: The vocals become just another instrument in the mix, and the mix pours on the layers from there. In one of the EP’s few moments when you can clearly make out the words, Giffen sings: “You never do what’s right. You’re always looking for an alibi.” On their first record, The Quiet Americans are far from doing anything wrong.
The Quiet Americans previously on Famous.
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