The American Analog Set

Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased

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Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased Review

by Jason Ankeny

The complexity and intricacy of the American Analog Set's albums betray their skills as a singles band -- while it's highly doubtful any of their 7" singles will ever threaten the top of the Billboard charts, their unique drone pop tone poems translate to the single format with surprising effortlessness, their approach gaining in immediacy what it loses in scope. Borrowing its title from a lyric in The Golden Band's "The Wait" (reprised here as a jingle for AmAnSet's favorite soft drink, "Dr. Pepper"), Through the 1990s: Singles and Unreleased compiles 14 tracks scattered across the group's brief but so far brilliant career, spanning from their first single, 1996's "Diana Slowburner II," to 1999's "The Only Living Boy Around," arguably their catchiest moment to date. Although the disc is above all an exercise in completism -- the alternate versions of cuts like "Magnificent Seventies," "On Our Way," and "It's All About Us" differ only superficially from their original LP versions -- the clutch of uncollected material makes it an essential purchase for fans, although newcomers are advised to seek out From Our Living Room to Yours or The Golden Band first.

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