Review by: Nina Anathckova
Album assigned by: Roland Bruynesteyn
The United States of America, a 1968 album by a short-lived experimental band of the same name is a curious musical artefact (the art part you can certainly not deny). It was apparently conceived as an avant-garde album, which also comes across pretty easily. Not by the tons of curious multilayered samples, especially, but rather by how well they come together with the very competent playing to create actual real and stylistically diverse well-written songs. And there’s a bit of everything here, really, some celestial singing, a bit of blues, folksy violins, dixieland samples, layered vocals and even some gregorian chants. The vocals by Dorothy Moskowitz and occasionally some of the guys fit the mood of the album expertly and the attempts of humour as off the wall as the sonic experimentation, so I’d say listening to this album is a pretty cool experience. Maybe it was even cooler to listen to it in the 60s, although be assured that the music doesn’t sound a bit dated even with its vaguely 60s-ish feel.
The original release contained 10 songs – opening on a nice combination of ice cream cart and marching band music that somewhat reminds me of my american high school’s anthem (ACS, royal sons and daughters we…) – a fitting intro for something called The United States of America – and concluding with the 3-part “The American Way of Love” which gradually peters out by sampling and looping all previous songs overlaying them over soothing movie strings. The newer releases (including the one currently on Spotify) ruin this perfect ending somewhat by piling 10 additional songs on top but if you liked what you have so far heard, you may have fun with them too.