Amida – My Life As A Trashcan
Manchester outfit, Amida, have been doing the rounds for a number of years now. While relatively unknown on a national scale they have picked up quite a following in the northern parts of the country with their jangly garage rock & roll.
This summer marked the release of Amida’s fourth and longest EP, My Life As A Trashcan on Jigsaw Records. With eight songs it could be seen as a mini-album of sorts, yet at only just over 18 minutes long it is hard to envisage calling this an album.
All three of Amida’s previous EP’s have been just as short and sweet – only one song, Weather from their second release If The Wave Loves Two Suns has been over three minutes – so with two songs on this EP bordering on four minutes you could call this somewhat of a progression from a band that clearly feels comfortable and content in their sound.
That is the overriding impression you get from this band, that they are content and confident in what they are doing and don’t see the need to change for anyone. It is a liberating thing to come across, a band still developing yet completely at ease and without any musical insecurity as to what they want to achieve with each release.
My Life As A Trashcan starts with the title track, a song that sums up everything that makes Amida great. Jangly, fast paced guitars that hark back to the early 2000’s guitar resurgence inspired by The Strokes and The Libertines contrasting with the dry witty lyrics of singer John Ammirati and again at just 1 minute and 31 seconds, short, brief yet engaging.
This here lies the dilemma of My Life As A Trashcan and Amida as a whole. While it would be a shame for them to lose their identity as a band by changing their sound (or more the length of the songs) the shorter of the tracks do leave you wanting that little bit more. This can arguably be just as much a positive as a downfall, yet you are left with somewhat of a feeling that had each track had that extra minute you would feel slightly less rushed when listening to this EP.
Second track A New Low is one of the stand out songs on this release. Slightly less jangly and with more of a focus on the lead guitar it sounds like an early reincarnation of The Cribs with Ammirati’s croaky vocals sneering “I never really liked you anyway” conjuring images of Ryan Jarman.
It is very apt that My Life As A Trashcan was released at the end of June in the height of the soaring sun because in Let Me Do This For You, Amida have one of the best summer tracks of the year. Keeping that signature jangly guitar sound, Amida have slowed the tempo, while Ammirati sings in a more tuneful restrained fashion. The songs opening lyrics of “Looking up at the gutter, summer loving, looking up at the sky, praying to who” keep in tone with Amida’s dry black comedic sense and just like any good pop tune allow for the music to set the original feeling – the feeling of summer – while the vocals offer a more sad nostalgic overtone.
A personal highlight for this writer is Thank Constantine. Here you get a more evolved sound from Amida, a darker feeling, fuzzier bass and the brilliant use of the xylophone dipping in and out before the verses. It leaves a certain feeling of contentment and relaxation that is a nice contrast to the rest of he album.
My Life As A Trashcan is certainly not perfect. It could possibly have benefited from a more enhanced production process, yet had it been produced in the way that so many bands go about their business nowadays, I have a feeling it would have lost Amida’s identity and that is an identity and character that is very much worth holding on to.
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