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[Off The Record]
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AM/FM
GETTING INTO SINKING
(POLYVINYL)

AM/FMís Brian Sokel and Michael Parsell are pure pop romantics at heart. The duoís sophomore effort is rife with pretty pools of reverb guitar, floating falsetto harmonies, and washes of Pet SoundsĖstyle timpani and percussion. This shouldnít come as too much of a surprise from a group who gave the requisite sleigh-bell percussion treatment to a Beach Boys track, "Disney Girls (1957)," on their debut and whose new disc includes a 16-page photo spread of the boys frolicking in the surf. Still, Sokelís previous job leading the early-í90s post-punk combo Franklin didnít exactly hint at what was in store with AM/FM, whose name aptly reflects where Sinkingís musical heart resides: somewhere between the airwaves of another age, whether that be 1996 ("It Fell out of My Head") or 1966 ("All Your Dreams Come True"). Theirs is a head space occupied by a multi-generational orbit of indie-songwriter iconoclasts, from Bright Eyes to Badly Drawn Boy to Brian Wilson to Leonard Cohen, whose "Hey, Thatís No Way To Say Goodbye" AM/FM cover faithfully. In fact, if thereís one problem with Sinking, itís that the material, appealing as it is, is too often a well-crafted reminder of something weíve heard somewhere before.

(AM/FM perform on Tuesday December 4 at T.T. the Bearís Place. Call 617-492-BEAR.)

BY JONATHAN PERRY

Issue Date: November 15 - 22, 2001

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