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The New Amsterdams - At the Foot of My Rival (Cover Artwork)

The New Amsterdams

The New Amsterdams: At the Foot of My RivalAt the Foot of My Rival (2007)
Elmar / Curb Appeal

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Seemingly, once the Get Up Kids dissolved, frontman Matthew Pryor became even more prolific in those recent years, offering up three full-lengths with his New Amsterdams in the last two calendar cycles; the first, Killed or Cured, was just recently issued on proper compact disc format finally. All t.
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Seemingly, once the Get Up Kids dissolved, frontman Matthew Pryor became even more prolific in those recent years, offering up three full-lengths with his New Amsterdams in the last two calendar cycles; the first, Killed or Cured, was just recently issued on proper compact disc format finally. All this bookending to the New Ams' catalog strikes simultaneous to his work in the Terrible Twos, where Pryor tries to hone in on the Raffi demographic -- that band just released their first full-length this past April. You'd think with so much material being pushed out there'd be some quality control issues, but At the Foot of My Rival (whose barely publicized, no-hyped release is surprising enough itself) marks an interesting and evolutionary step for Pryor and co. on LP6 (!).

At the Foot of My Rival opens with the deceivingly lo-fi "Revenge," showcasing only Pryor and his acoustic. Then "Wait" immediately saunters in with shocking layers of instruments, presenting an unusually lush atmosphere for the New Ams. They recede a bit for the song's no less enjoyable duration, where Pryor's voice, while fairly multi-tracked, sounds as mature and pleasant than ever. If not for his instantly recognizable singing however, "A Beacon in Beige" could be mistaken for mid-era Copeland. Some barely muffled, shuffling drums patter along behind him in "Fountain on Youth," finding Pryor singing in a purely upbeat fashion and conjuring up images of In Reverie-era Saves the Day gone right.

The rest of the album, while admittedly slightly dull at times, finds the group employing unique strings, horns and harmonica to spice things up. But somewhat often, the songs drag a little, wallowing in slow-moving forms unlike the softly rocking numbers that permeate the first third or so. Other lo-fi acoustic shots like "Hughes" capture Pryor at his heartfelt best though, a rare thing on At the Foot of My Rival now that he's seemed to stitch his emotions up a bit.

The New Amsterdams were always enjoyable for their folksy edge and bleeding heart theatrics, but even without them they've proved they're more than capable of carrying an original-sounding LP that not only marks an even further departure from Pryor's more notable collective, but strikes new territory for even him as of recent times.

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At the Foot of My Rival

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ChokingVictim (September 26, 2007)

getting this soon.

dev (September 26, 2007)

Good review. Haven't heard the whole album, but I've liked what I've heard.

inagreendase (September 25, 2007)

Yah.

AlmostPunkENough (September 25, 2007)

i don't seem to get the joke as far as the title is concerned... has it been fixed?

inagreendase (September 25, 2007)

I don't think I ever would've caught that, thanks.

Archangel (September 25, 2007)

Haha good catch, Branden.

branden (September 25, 2007)

i like the inconsistencies with the name of this album in the review, seriously.

Holy_Balls (September 25, 2007)

Well I was going to get the Bled and the Weakerthans tomorrow, but it look's like the Bled will have to wait. I'm a sucker for anything Matt Pryor. This and Reunion Tour will make fall kick ass

aaronsuspect (September 25, 2007)

STD's In Reverie-era gone right?
In Reverie is more than "right" as far as I'm concerned.
Fountain of Youth is one of my least favorites on the album. It's not the New Ams to me.

I'm a big New Ams fan, but I would only call this album good. Not great. Which is dissapointing because I was expecting much more after Story Like A Scar. I say good because, as noted, there are slow parts on the CD, making it a little hard to pick up and listen. That being said, there are some GREAT songs, like Revenge, Wait, and ESPECIALLY Without A Sound. Also, the Blood on the Floor has an awesomely haunting mood. I love the garbled screaming underneath the clean vocals of the chorus.

I'm going to have to give it more listens, and I'm sure I'll end up liking it more and more.

To the poster above me, if you liked the punkier stuff, you might like Without A Sound and A Beacon In Beige from this album.

Does anyone else think that the Killed or Cured double disc is the best new ams album? [Cured] is unbelievable. I love it much more than [Killed]. Like the cool use of brackets there?

Archangel (September 25, 2007)

I am interested in getting this because I consistently am impressed by Pryor.

GlassPipeMurder (September 25, 2007)

Is there any of the punkier type stuff on this record? I really loved Story Like a Scar because it had the great acoustic stuff but also more punk stuff like "Intelligent Design" and "Bad Liar."

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