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Amandine - This Is Where Our Hearts Collide

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 8 / 10 / 2005



Amandine - This Is Where Our Hearts Collide
Label: Fat Cat Records
Format: CD

intro

Understated, melancholic country rock from oddly-based new Swedish four-piece Amandine


Whilst blues has been an international art form for decades, it is a more recent phenomenon for country to be made by musicians who haven’t actually experienced North American countryside life. With so many American indie-rock bands influenced by country and subsequently influencing their European counterparts, it is, however, only natural that some European bands are going to delve into the source material for themselves. Amandine’s 'This is Where Our Hearts Collide' is one example of this process. This Swedish quartet have quite clearly set out to make a country record. Amandine effortlessly evoke a cold and lonely night in a dusty landscape. The honesty and directness of the lyrics, almost always in the confessional mood, adds to this impression. If the title didn’t already suggest this to you, this is music about love lost and found. Though rooted in a style that is not native to the band, there is no mimickery, but an immersion in this music and its styles. Throughout these 11 tracks, the music is languid and quiet. It is patronising and pretentious to talk about minimalism or(agghh) "musical silence". Amandine sound too sincere to be this calculating. I suspect they simply wanted to achieve a sleepy kind of beauty that doesn’t overwhelm. Fans of Neil Young know exactly what I’m talking about. Indeed, Olof Gidlöf has a similarly effective style of "under-singing" as the great Young. The songwriting is uncomplicatingly melancholic - though not lacking melody entirely - yet it is the dabbed instrumental flourishes that most impress. John Andersson’s accordion makes a beautiful sound, considering that instrument is not a regular feature of my listening habits. There is also a lot of pretty piano playing, some strings and a bit of banjo. Okay, they are not innovating, or pushing boundaries, or offending people, but they have written some delicious music. Often, that is quite enough. I consider the first and last songs on the album, 'For the Marbles' and 'Heart Tremors', to be the best examples of how good Amandine are. Both are sad songs with pretty arrangements and tunes to hum to yourself. Indie ‘heads’ will probably balk at the comparison, but there are moments when 'This is When Our Hearts Collide' reminds me of the Counting Crows' seminal live album, 'Across a Wire'. I’d hesitate to describe this album as potentially seminal, but it does more than just pass the time.



Track Listing:-
1 For All the Marbles
2 Halo
3 First Lines
4 Stitches
5 Blood & Marrow
6 Over the Trenches
7 Fathers & Sons
8 Firefly
9 Sway
10 Easy Prey
11 Heart Tremor


Label Links:-
http://www.fat-cat.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/FatCatRecords
http://fatcat-records.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/fatcatrecords
https://twitter.com/FatCatRecords



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