The American Analog Set
The American Analog Set
Ten years into a band's career, after six full length records, numerous EPs, singles and 7"s and countless US and European tours, you might think that you've got them figured out. Not the case with American Analog Set. Set Free is the album that the band has been waiting a decade to make and with no time restrictions, no label, no money, and many miles between the members of the band, AmAnSet made it all happen exactly as they wanted it to. It is their strongest, most surprising work to date as it marks the culmination of many years playing together and growing as musicians and as a band. So to bring you up to where the story of Set Free begins...
Ken had moved to New York in the Fall of 2003 in pursuit of a PhD in biochemistry at Columbia and found time to make the Home CD/EP with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie, Postal Service) and also volunteered his voice on the stand out track "Front to Back" on Styrofoam's Nothing Lost and toured in the US and Europe in support, and saw the release of the Songs of Hurt and Healing EP which featured an updated version of "The Postman" along with two unreleased songs from American Analog Set. The recording sessions for Set Free took place throughout 2004-05 in five different locations -living rooms, bedrooms, and for the first time ever, a recording studio- and took twelve months to complete, making it the longest time the band had committed to any of its recordings.
Through the release of AmAnSet's first three records, the band earned an ever-growing loyal fanbase. Critical acclaim hit with the irrepressible hooks of their outstanding 2001 full length release Know By Heart and carried into the patient soundscapes throughout their follow-up, Promise of Love. For the keen listener, you'll realize that the two albums are intentionally connected to Set Free. Know By Heart is a lesson in the worst parts of falling in love. Promise Of Love continues with the sad things done in an effort to feel love again once it's been taken away. Set Free somehow completes this story with 12 songs about getting over something that never goes away.
Within the first moments of the beginning track 'Always Wins', with Kenny's present though hushed vocals and Mark's upbeat but delicate drums, it's obvious that you're listening to an American Analog Set record. But as the songs pass, it becomes ever clearer that this is no ordinary album by the Austin quintet. Set Free is without a doubt American Analog Set's best album. It is delicate, layered, seemingly effortless and all consuming. It is a record by a band that has taken command in every aspect of their songwriting and instrumentation and production portrays perfectly absolutely everything that each member of the band does well. It is the most complete and complete sounding record that the band has made yet. And with the aid of a new label domestically and (at last) proper labels in Europe, Japan, and Australia, this will certainly reach the most people. For new listeners, Set Free is an excellent introduction to what the AmAnSet does best. For those already familiar with the band, this is the album you've been waiting 10 years for them to produce.