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Amelia

A Long, Lovely List of Repairs

(Adrenaline; US: 22 Apr 2008; UK: 28 Apr 2008)

Amelia’s records can seem like a bit of a tease. The band (consisting of vocalist/drummer Teisha Helgerson, bassist Jesse Emerson, and guitarist/vocalist Scott Weddle) always features a few especially spry songs that immediately grab your attention, and combine Americana with touches of some vague European sensibility. Ultimately, though, those are distractions from Amelia’s apparent true love: quiet slow-to-midtempo songs that rely on the subtlest of touches to distinguish themselves.


A Long, Lovely List of Repairs follows the same template, kicking off with the slinky vibe and Spanish lyrics of “Enemigo”. That leadoff track is joined in the task of pricking our ears by moments like the Waitsian stomp of “Dolores”, the nimble acoustic melody of “Thick as Thieves”, and the stinging guitar solo that punctuates “Cover the Leak”. The album’s true personality, though, lies in straightforward, sometimes hushed work like “Farewell” and “After You” where touches of violins, piano, clarinet, and other sounds attempt to carry the day. Helgerson’s smoky vocals are always a highlight, but these quieter moments run the risk of sounding the same. As a listener, you get the sense that Amelia could be a lot more distinctive than they’re allowing themselves to be.

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Andrew Gilstrap is a freelance writer living in South Carolina, where he's able to endure the few weeks each year that it's actually freezing (swearing a vow that if he ever moves, it'll be even farther south). Aging into a fine curmudgeon whose idea of heaven is 40 tree-covered acres away from the world, he increasingly wishes he were part of a pair of twins, just so he could try being the kinda evil one on for size. Musically, he's always scouring records for that one moment that makes him feel like he's never heard music before, but he long ago realized he needs to keep his copies of John Prine, Crowded House, the Replacements, Kate Bush, and Tom Waits within easy reach.


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