October 16, 2001

AMFM "The Sky Is The New Ground"

When is emo not emo? Smart-ass answer is: "When it's good." Truthful answer is: "You should listen to music, not label it." Of course, when your record label gets named as one of the innovators of the style what can you do? Polyvinyl's just a record label run by people who like music and release things that they like and it's not their fault that emo gets linked to them. There's more to the label than just Braid, and AMFM aren't emo. (Oh my sweet lord, I just had a discussion about "emo" on my website....horseman number two should be along shortly.)

Anyway, AMFM has returned with four interesting little numbers that actually whet the appetite. If you like quiet, thoughtful, music, then Brian Sokel and Michael Parsell are making music for you, because the four little songs float in and out of your speakers, drifting from guitar riffs to electronic blips and drips and singing floating in and out of all of that. The Sky Is the New Ground isn't an instrumental record, but there's little distinction between the importance of vocals and instrumentals. "Every Start" stars off the affair, a quiet little guitar and electronic instrumental that without warning shifts into "Gone in Three," which splits its time between instrumental and vocal, and it shifts rather dramatically into "Mrs. Astronaut," which is full of starts and stops that you're following it like a cat watching a yo-yo. The closer, "All to Remember," is a sad, droning number that brings out their secret shoegaze roots.

The Sky Is The New Ground is an interesting little record that really doesn't seem like a four-song EP as much as it does one large, four-movement song. Some kids love these kids, and I can see why; they've got some interesting ideas going on here, and I'll be awaiting their next full-length record with open ears.

--Joseph Kyle

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