The critically acclaimed Bay Area band has been making music since the mid-80s. The songs come quietly and deliberately from leader Mark Eitzel as he prods through curious subject matter. Past releases include song titles like: "What the Pillar of Salt Held Up", "How Many Six Packs Does It Take to Screw in a Light", "The Amyl Nitrate Dream of Pat Robertson" and my favorite, "In My Role as the Most Hated Singer in the Local Underground Scene". On The Golden Age, AMC drops in some very catchy almost-pop songs like "Decibels and Little Pills".
After about a dozen records (both solo and with AMC) Eitzel seems to be making the same slow, careful songs - what changes is the lyrical content. Eitzel takes a journey to an unusual part of the psyche that I didn't even know existed. Accompanying on that trip is a cast of solid players that have sat in with the band over the years, including mainstays Vudi (Mark Pankler) on guitar and Dan Pearson on bass. Their musicianship rivals any of the best studio players around. While the melodies are simple, the layers are beautiful, evoking an incredible audio landscape that perfectly matches the stories.
The self-depracating Eitzel brings a sense of humor to his writing and performing. His songs often contain dramatic pauses between phrases. Sometimes the most wonderful part of an AMC song is what you don't hear. The silence suggests something unspoken and gives the listener time to digest the last thought.
- Chuck Arnold