Hello Amsterdam

by: American Music Club

American Music Club's final release was essentially a souped-up single for "Hello Amsterdam," a cut from their album San Francisco, but in retrospect the EP offers a belated glimpse at one of AMC's least celebrated qualities, their sense of humor. In the context of San Francisco, "Hello Amsterdam" sounded like a mildly petulant meditation on the rigors of touring, but on its own, it's quite witty, and the ABBA references are inspired. Upping the snide-but-amusing factor is "The President's Test for Physical Fitness," purportedly based on vocalist Mark Eitzel and guitarist Vudi's real life encounter with a brain-dead member of a popular arena rock outfit, and boasting one of Eitzel's most wickedly funny vocals. It's hard to tell if Eitzel is serious or not when he croons "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" (a byproduct of his well-documented fascination with Barbra Streisand), but it's an inarguably striking performance, and "Elbow Deep," one of the few AMC songs not written and sung by Eitzel, shows that the group had another gifted singer and songwriter in Vudi (though he doesn't sound any happier than Eitzel ever did). An alternate version of "The Thorn in My Side Is Gone" and "I Just Took My Two Sleeping Pills...," a British B-side that appeared in America on the vinyl version of San Francisco, round out the EP. Hello Amsterdam is pretty much a package for fans only, but it's doubtful anyone else was paying attention this late in the game anyway. ~ Mark Deming

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