The Amistad - Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Amistad

Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts (2010)

Bombed Out

Though I feel as I just reviewed the Amistad's Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts when discussing Orphan Choir's self-titled, the UK's unintended answer to that band and album is assuredly worth a mention as well despite the obvious aesthetical and musical similarities.

You've heard the Amistad's sound before, but the band bless it with a boisterousness and steadiness that allow the rough melodies and moments of subtle emotional resonance of their debut to come to life. There's lots of talk of Chicago and the Broadways as having an influence on the band in press materials, and you can hear that to a certain extent, especially in something like "The Youth Aren't Getting Restless." Myself, I want to say there are some typical A Flight and a Crash-era Hot Water Music and the Gaslight Anthem circa Sink or Swim twinges in here, but the band aren't as aggressive and technical as the former nor as nearly soulful and dynamic as the latter. But the straightforwardness they adhere to isn't too detrimental to their sound as a whole; they get by on sincere, slightly ragged vocals and rugged tempos that sound natural for them, as well as a heavy literary influence that gives their songs an intelligence and maturity over the opportunity for mindless, beer-swilling anthems.

Little flairs here and there help make Kept Under a little more than an average Orgcore album. "Thorpe Hesley's Best Dancers" makes two cute Lifetime references; the other is its introduction, nipping that of "Turnpike Gates"'s. Then the second half kicks off and it's actually better than the first. "An Unobscured View of the Sewage Works" is an articulately told, short acoustic narrative where the band's Yorkshire accent is especially noticeable. "Blemish Free Fruit" and "Shall I Be Mother?" suddenly find the band at its most rambunctious and brassy, yet the latter traverses a slow ending I hope they explore more in the future; regardless, I really like the sudden aggression on these and hope it's a territory they explore more as well. The heart-fluttering chords and Gin Blossoms-esque opening to closer "Beer Guilt Schulze" is also unironically great.

The liner notes and artwork to the album are warmly old-fashioned and borne with sharp, clear images and text like an old Dickens novel. I want to like Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts way more than I actually do, but it's hard to deny both the promise and immediate enjoyability that the Amistad already possess.

People Who Live in Glasshoughton Shouldn't Throw Stones
So This Is Where the Fun Times End and the Male Pattern Baldness Sets In
Beer Guilt Schulze