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New Amsterdams - Story Like A Scar

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 17 / 5 / 2006

New Amsterdams - Story Like A Scar
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Eclectic and timeless first album from the New Amsterdams, the new band of former Get-Up Kids front man Matt Prior

Even when there was that brief moment at the beginning of 2002 when ‘emo’ was a respectable term, Matt Prior hated it. His band, the Get Up-Kids may have had the quintessential emo sound (whiny vocals, not quite punk - not quite indie, introspective-ish lyrics about sad things and broken relationships) and looks (studenty, basically, but not the sort that plays for the rugby team) but he was not emo, dammit. Emo or not, (who cares about these classifications in the days when the angry and under- employed music fan has the existence and popularity of the Kooks to worry about?) the Get Up Kids were a fine band, whose 2000 album 'Something To Write Home About' really does merit its title. I listen to it often, and I was disappointed that Matt Prior (fed up with being called emo, we imagine) broke up the band to concentrate on his hitherto ignored side project, the New Amsterdams. ‘Story Like A Scar’ has a title far more emo than anything the ’Kids ever put out (oh the irony), but the music really isn’t emo at all. Fans of his earlier albums, however, won’t be offended by anything here, and the biggest change is that some of his songs sound even more honest, and have more gravitas. ‘Turn Out The Light’ has a late-night vibe, smoky and husky, and a tender lyric. It is the best moment here, but ‘The Death Of Us’, with its Neil Young harmonica, ‘Past The Pines’, which could have slotted nicely onto Big Star’s 'Third', and the Thin Lizzy-isms of ‘Intelligent Design’ all come close. After a half hour of music, and nine proper songs, the CD spins to a halt. It may seem short by modern standards, but fits nicely into the timeless vibe the New Amsterdams clearly aspire to. Many bands don’t seem to realise that after one boring 60 minute album that only has 20 enjoyable minutes of music, few people will buy another. By contrast, ‘Story Like A Scar’ leaves us wanting more. Lovely stuff.

Track Listing:-
1 The Death of Us
2 Turn out the Light
3 Bad Liar
4 Past the Pines
5 Your Ghost
6 Intelligent Design
7 Calendar Days
8 Beautiful Mistake
9 A Small Crusade
10 Turn out the Light (Reprise)

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