Home Read Classic Album Review: The Places | The Autopilot Knows You Best

Classic Album Review: The Places | The Autopilot Knows You Best

Amy Annelle's quietly powerful songs are best heard through headphones.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


“This record is dedicated to headphone enthusiasts everywhere.” That credit in the liner notes of The Places’ new CD The Autopilot Knows You Best shows that these Portland, Ore., balladeers know precisely who their audience is.

Truth is, I can’t imagine any other way to listen to singer-songwriter Amy Annelle’s music. Touchingly intimate and quietly powerful, Annelle’s shambling tunes have all the ghostly elegance of Cowboy Junkies, while the hushed drawl of her voice and the choppy strum of her guitar add touches of Liz Phair and Cat Power’s downcast slackerism. Listening to songs like Will Try and Ode to the Exhausted seems almost as intrusive as reading someone’s diary over the radio. Artsy production touches, like using snippets of Everly Brothers tunes, sound effects and old speeches to link these 11 tracks into a narrative song cycle, only add to the head-trip vibe here — as does a fuzzy cover of Pink Floyd acid casualty Syd Barrett’s Late Night. Plug in, turn on and tune out the rest of the world.