Anam Cara CDEP - Hello Sir
Anam Cara means "soul mate" in Gaelic, though there's nothing particularly Gaelic or Celtic about this effort from the Athens, Georgia-based band A. Armada. Rather, their instrumental-only EP bears the clear influence of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, and Explosions in the Sky. If the result proves rather more pedestrian in sound than those bands, it's still a sporadically engaging listen. It also had me riffling through the thesaurus for synonyms for "crescendo."
"The Dam Was Split But the City Was Saved" opens this mini-album and establishes the template. Guitars crash from the first tick, then they alternate climbing and chiming, crashing and falling for five minutes before slipping into the soft, silvery "The Moon Shifts"... which also builds into a rattling, fuzzed out, ah, climax. Later, "Into Days & Nights & Years & Months" commences with softly chiming guitars, but we can predict that the background fuzz will soon build into a stormy crest - before it bounces pleasantly enough along.
So, yes, if you catch the drift here, Anam Cara relies a little too heavily on the whole rising crescendo thing and coddles those ringing guitars without adding much else to the proceedings. Other than some workmanlike drumming, there's little else in the way of instrumentation, and the lack of visceral drama often results in an aural dawdle along a pretty well-worn path.
By Robert Stribley