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Ashley Park | The American Scene (Kindercore)
Terry Miles surveys the American Scene from the nearby musical hotspot of Vancouver, B.C. On his second album under the Ashley Park moniker multi-instrumentalist Miles continues to find inspiration in the melodic grooves of The Beach Boys and The Beatles' mellower moments, instilling a lazy summery wash of shimmering keyboards and acoustic guitars around his nonchalantly tuneful vocal. With a minimal amount of percussion, The American Scene is a subdued, drifting collection that avoids pastiche by adding discreet, inventive flourishes and keeping an eye on contemporary sounds. That one is reminded of Grandaddy, Yo La Tengo, The Kingsbury Manx and Sparklehorse as often as Strawberry Fields Forever, Neil Young (whose Tell Me Why gets an affectionate cover here) or any number of soft, sensitive, seventies smoothies demonstrates Miles' skill as an arbiter of taste and musical juxtaposition. On The Last Day in the Life of The Grand and Rocket on the Highway, he creates mini-epics that wouldn't sound out of place on The Sophtware Slump or Good Morning Spider. Elsewhere the spirit of Apples in Stereo is in evidence, as is the west-coast breeziness of Beachwood Sparks and the Euro-cool of Stereolab; his wealth of analogue keyboard sounds never less than warm and refreshing. The American Scene is a leisurely picnic in the sunlit, pastoral setting of Ashley Park.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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