There’s an endearing raggedness that permeates the latest record from Denver’s American Culture, and that raggedness scotch tapes the whole album together into the noise-pop mixtape that 2021 needed. Stylistically the band doesn’t root too hard in one direction. There’s the nervy new wave of opener “Silence,” the damaged folk-pop of “No Peace,” and the private press slink of “I Like American Music.” The band nestle these among an assemblage of fuzz hammered garage pop, but its all shot through the high bias blast of a corroded tape deck to feel like the sampler that ’09 forgot. The band’s got pop in its veins, and there are more than a few hooks to hang your hopes on over the course of For My Animals, you just have to dig them out of the debris. Honestly that’s half the fun.
The band’s been kicking out cassettes and 7”s at a pretty consistent clip, but this marks only their second LP, following a 2015 release on Jigsaw. American Culture makes the most of the record, though, laying out a heat-warped wonderland that stops among instrumental oases in dub and finds an a warped joy in sharp juxtapositions from one track to the next, like late night VHF broadcasts — an LP aligned for fans of Night Flight or New Wave Theater. They’ve soaked the feed in a power pop glow and passed it through a filter of taped and re-taped copies to knock down the fidelity just a touch. This one seems to have been buried a bit by the onslaught of releases this year, but don’t let it get away. Between the Tall Dwarfs tumblers, R. Stevie Moore reverberations, and the Bill Fox charms, there’s plenty of neon glow to love. The more it runs ‘round the table, the deeper those hooks bury themselves in the psyche.
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