American Analog Set's albums are kind of like sampling apple pies made by your mom, aunt, and grandmother. Sure, they don't taste identical. Sure, Aunt Ruth uses too much salt. But in the end, it's still just apple pie. AmAnSet's multiple releases are pretty much just that -- a decade's worth of music-making, and they still can't get on to giving rhubarb-strawberry a try. The band's low-key pop sports shades of Velvet Underground, Stereolab, and Australia's Machine Translations, but its reliance on creating synth-thick atmospheres has often meant its dulcet drone overwhelms would-be fans. With Set Free, AmAnSet has figured out how to use melody to break up this monotony. Check out "She's Half," "Play Hurt," or the aptly titled closer "Fuck This . . . I'm Leaving" for the proof -- and some apple pie with a li'l lemon tossed in. Still just apple pie, though.
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