The American Dollar | Atlas (Yesh Music)

Atlas may be the perfect album to provide the background at your next party.

The music of instrumental ambient-rock duo The American Dollar is likely to be familiar to most listeners as snippets heard emanating from a screen: in commercials, movie trailers, and television shows. Understandably so, as the band’s sound is undeniably both lush and cinematic. Indeed, each song on their latest release, Atlas, is perfect “background” music. As a whole, the album hums like the clinking buzz of sound at a party well-attended by thoughtful guests.  The question is: Is that sound interesting if you can’t see the party?

Fortunately, by and large it is. The songs do tend to blend together, but in this case The American Dollar mostly turns this potential downside to their advantage by letting the music ebb and flow organically. And, without vocalization to adhere to, the songs are free to wander as they will. “Age of Wonder” spends much of its five-minute run time sunk in summer-night ambience before erupting into a guitar-fueled sonic fireworks display. “Shadows” builds to a swirling cacophony of bells, evoking moonlight shimmering on water. Does it matter that similar moments occur in several of the album’s other songs? Not much, because the execution is solid and consistent throughout. In the end, Atlas may be the perfect album to provide the background at your next actual party. B | John Shepherd

 

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