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We're an American Band

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Album Review

Close to ten years after they last went into the studio (and nearly 30 after they cut their first album), MX-80 are remarkably still intact (the core trio of Bruce Anderson, Dale Sophiea, and Rich Stim are all still onboard) and if the band's attack isn't as aggressive as it once was, We're an American Band reveals they're as smart and adventurous as they've ever been. Guitarist Bruce Anderson's endless waves of guitar sonics, occupying a middle ground between hard rock assault and art rock texture and fragmentation, are still very much the star of this show, and his layers of lovely noise swell and shift throughout these 13 songs, often leaving the melodic backbone to the other instruments but always setting the tone for each tune. Rich Stim's dry, semi-ironic vocals sometime suggest that Steven Wright is fronting the band, but the deadpan humor of his lyrics makes them all the more effective on songs such as "Don't Hate the French," the love-song parody "You Turned My Head Around," and "Cry Uncle," a tribute to some remarkable parental siblings. And while We're an American Band often subtly (and in the case of "Don't Hate the French," not so subtly) deals with the travails of American life during the George W. Bush administration, there's enough dark wit and imagination in these songs to prevent the commentary from becoming strident, and the ebb and flow of the music, with electronic accents easing in and out of the banks of guitar, is compelling no matter what Stim has to say. Rich, witty, adventurous, and satisfying, We're an American Band is a thoroughly contemporary album from a band still walking along the edges in their fourth decade of making music.

Customer Reviews

worth the wait

it's been 10 years since their last one but good things come to those who wait -- one kooky, depressing, beautiful and funny recording.

Still Making Good Music

I bought their albums years ago. I saw the latest on iTunes. I asked myself - can they still make good music? The answer was so clear - yes they can.


Formed: Bloomington, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Originally known as MX-80 Sound, this US avant rock band was formed in Bloomington, Indiana, by Bruce Anderson (guitar/vocals), Dale Sophiea (bass) and Jeff Armour (drums). In late 1975 they were joined by Rich Stim (vocals/saxophone/guitar) and Dave Mahoney (drums). A single and EP on a local label were followed by their debut Hard Attack for Island Records. By this time they were based in San Francisco. Hard Attack achieved considerable attention; the avowed experimentation of the group (Captain...
Full Bio
We're an American Band, MX-80
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