I had only heard ABOUT singer/songwriter AM before a couple weeks ago when I listened to his most recent release, Future Sons & Daughters. I have yet to find the New Orleans-raised musician's actual name, but that may have something to do with my less than stellar googling skills and it doesn't matter much anyway I suppose. What matters is how enjoyable AM's groovy pop sound is as presented on this latest LP, which has made a great first impression on me. The slightly washed out album photo and even the psychedelic font give AM's intentions away right from the beginning. He combines breezy 70s rock, pop, and even bits of disco with his own modern twist, an approach that may not be completely unique but one he pulls off with style, hitting much more often than missing on the record's 11 tracks.
His gift for crafting memorable melodies and his attention to detail when writing these retro-pop tunes is what makes songs like the reggae-esque opener "A Complete Unknown" and the slinky "It's Been So Long" so appealing. AM's even, smooth voice glides over a selection of reverbed guitars, nimble percussion, and occasionally muted horns providing the appropriately funky backdrop for lyrics that mostly fit well into the intended time period, making Future Sons & Daughters a worthy tribute to the decade. Other highlights include "Fortunate Family Tree," which revels in its sunny simplicity and the brief instrumental "Jorge Ben," where AM shows some more than decent guitar chops around congas and trumpet riffs. The whole experience lasts a modest 36 minutes, which is just enough to be satisfying while keeping things light and lean.
Future Sons & Daughters is a record that, due to its purposefully low-impact nature, may not grab your attention immediately. Given half a chance, tough, AM proves to be an intelligent musician and a talented songwriter who understands his strengths as well as his limitations and uses them to create something fun, fresh, and quite groovy. Download the song "Grand Opinion" from the album below or check out AM on MySpace.
Grand Opinion (MP3)