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Album Review
My Own Private Amsterdam

My Own Private Amsterdam
by Pistol Youth


Review Date
Reviewed by
Amanda Ratcliffe

Starting a new rock group while on tour with your current band isn’t something that you’d expect from a New Zealand outfit. But that’s exactly what Steriogram’s singer and guitarist, Bradley Hanan Carter decided to do back in 2007. He chose three friends from established bands around the world to record a six track EP titled Smiling Can Backfire. Each member, being in a different country meant recording across the internet - which Carter explains, “its been sorta’ like having four long distance relationships at once…”.

The EP was a success across the board, so it was time for the members to finally meet each other. They were flown to Los Angeles in early 2009 where they wrote and recorded material for their debut album, My Own Private Amsterdam.

Their earlier music was likened to US popsters Weezer, but with time, they’ve developed a sound that is truly unique to them. It’s more refined which is undoubtedly the result of their being in the same country for most of the recordings.

The first single to be released off the album, Frankfurt is a definite standout on the disc, which proves that simplicity is always a winner. The track featured on ‘Off The Record’ on popular radio station, ‘The Rock’ over NZ Music Month, gaining the band more recognition and fans along the way. The intro to Beautiful boasts catchy – and again, simple drum beats to perk up the ears of listeners before getting into a slightly rockier sound, previously unexplored.

Fans of the group’s debut EP will be delighted to see that When I Go Out made it to the final cut - and a little FYI for you - the video for this track documents the band’s first meeting and working together on recording the album. It’s pop-rock at it’s finest, as is Happy Pills, which has a familiarity to it that makes me wonder if this will be their next radio hit? You’ll hear hints of Steriogram in songs like Symphony Brother and In My Eyes, which is comforting to know that Mr Carter is still the same man with the same style.

If you’re into finger picking, Fragile shares that enticing simplicity that is all too beautiful, mixed with strong vocals and backed with pain. Slowly is much rockier and comes as a bit of a shock after such a controlled track prior. I don’t think I would have put this one in this place, but maybe it was their intention to ‘wake people up’? Last song on the album, Central Park is charming and will leave you wondering what’s next for the band. Apparently a NZ tour is on the cards. Watch this space, and while you’re watching, listen to My Own Private Amsterdam.


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