Music A.M.

My City Glittered Like a Breaking Wave

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The short follow-up to the band's 2004 debut, A Heart and Two Stars, My City Glittered finds the Music A.M. trio again working in a vein of calm, reflective music poised between gentle confessional and electronic squelch and quirk. The basic division of duties remains -- Volker Bertelmann and Stefan Schneider handle synths and bass, Luke Sutherland sings and plays guitar -- and the counterbalance of their approaches brings out the best in both. Sutherland's singing is much more reminiscent of his Long Fin Killie days than was the case on A Heart and Two Stars -- his swift, intense work on the opening "Mermaid" is a treat, enhanced in turn by the easy but still active and upbeat flow of the arrangement, getting increasingly lush as the song continues. With that as a benchmark, the rest of My City Glittered provides a quick but powerful fix for wherever the trio might want to go next, while standing well on its own. With instrumentals like "Elle" and "Saturday," the trio demonstrates that it's not simply a new vehicle for Sutherland's voice but its own particular effort, tapping the vein of warmth so prevalent in other contemporaneous acts like Testbild. When he does sing, though, sometimes all Sutherland has to do is contribute a few words, as he does by repeating the title of "Don't Keep Me Waiting So Long" as the song's full lyric, but having it become a calm, yearning mantra. The previous album's "Supercharger" gets slightly revisited as "Supercharger, I Adore You," Sutherland's voice a seductive but intense whisper/croon, as the sounds of chimes and vibes ring around his voice and a low, purring rhythm section.

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