Amestory could probably not have picked a better title for their new EP, “they can sing, they can sing, they can sing underwater.” The image is dreamy, claustrophobic, like the album’s air-tight orchestration and its eerily mess-less production. At the same time, the title points obliquely to something the EP has a lot to do with: making a lot of noise and not being heard at all.
“30 million marched and paraded down their streets, we never saw the pictures on TV,” goes a line in a song called “The March, The Parade.” Deeply uncertain about the viability of collective action and political change, the group has, rather perversely, compiled four protest songs that nobody could possibly sing along with; songs that cling to the idea of political art while simultaneously burying the political message in melodic distraction; that don’t actually sound angry at all if you don’t listen too hard; that are both defeatist and hopeful.
This album may not wake anyone up to the problems with global domination, unjust war, or the ludicrously unsustainable lifestyle we live. Most of its likely listeners are hip to its basic non-conformism. It may, however, achieve the more modest yet important goal of exploring the feelings of many thoughtful Americans in the face of a never ending, nerve-rending war. The obscene cocktail of stifled rage and political impotence; the urge to moral action that just won’t die, but is always attended by the specter of futility. For these it offers a strangely beautiful consolatory image: “Birds …singing underwater, swaying together like a choir.”