Amanda X - Amnesia | Album Review | By Volume

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Amanda X


A promising debut of exhilarating guitar-rock.

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Author: on August 13, 2014
Siltbreeze Records
August 5, 2014

Equating a piece of music as belonging to or being of a garage aesthetic has always been something I’ve found troublesome when writing about music. Clearly the quantification of art as good or bad (or say, a specific numeral valuation) isn’t beyond my capabilities – it’s just always felt strange to describe a bit of music in terms of where it was constructed. Isn’t most music garage-this or bedroom-that when a band or artist are in their birthing stages? And considering that countless numbers of bands have taken their garage-built sound to the masses in the past fifty years, it’s difficult to expound on how Philly-trio Amanda X are making great garage-rock.

Amnesia, their Merge Records debut, isn’t a spectacular record, but I feel as if Amanda X weren’t approaching its recording as an attempt to revolutionize rock n’ roll. With a fuck-all attitude similar to Pavement and an ear for killer riffs and serene vocal melodies a la Sleater-Kinney, Amanda X take music that could otherwise be retread and infuse it with so much honest fun you can’t help but join in the festivities. At just thirty-two minutes as well, Amnesia crashes into your consciousness with the same efficient fervor it exits with. Unapologetic, yet also distinctly well-constructed, the album walks a fine line between beauty and skuzz, providing delicate lyrical turns alongside blaring guitars, making it easy to fall hard for Amnesia. Though, fittingly, you may not exactly remember what was so fetching about the LP until you press play once more. Amnesia is deceptive like that.

To put it bluntly: you’re probably not going to reconstruct your beliefs about what rock music could be following a few spins of Amnesia – but you may decide you want more out your guitar-driven music in the future. Cat Park and Kat Bean mold their vocals together seamlessly (Park also employs a ton of killer riffs), while drummer Tiff Yoon is always on-point, and constantly provides a driving backbone for the album’s gung-ho rock songs. Yoon is a drummer that isn’t appreciated as much until after an initial few spins of Amnesia – she’s similar to a Meg White to these ears, talented enough to know her limits, yet is unquestionably every songs pacemaker (in more than a literal sense). It feels like if her percussion-skill were absent, Amnesia would simply fall apart under its own weight.

The album is surprisingly heavier than one might expect, yet these three musicians are more than capable of hoisting Amnesia onto their shoulders. And, well, they do. The record comes across as a complete sum of all its parts, that with a few more years together to perfect the process, Amnesia should take its place as an accomplished and lauded band’s good-but-not-amazing debut that led to so many great things. Amanda X seem capable of reaching these heights, and more importantly, they seem like they’d want to. Because, why the fuck not, right? Getting to the top probably isn’t half bad.

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