Home Read Classic Album Review: Mark Eitzel | The Ugly American

Classic Album Review: Mark Eitzel | The Ugly American

The brooding American Music Clubber takes some of his oldies on a trip to Greece.

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This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Call it Eitzel Goes Bouzouki. Or perhaps Mark’s Big Fat Greek Wedding Album.

If you believe brooding singer-songwriter and ex-American Music Club leader Mark Eitzel, The Ugly American exists because he accepted a free trip to Greece from composer and producer Manolis Famellos — who then talked him into recording a bunch of old AMC tunes with Greek musicians. Wherever the truth lies, there’s no disputing this is one of the more intriguing and distinctive discs Eitzel has released lately. Whether he likes it or not, the delicate traditional instruments — violin and viola, bouzouki, mandolin, tzouras, pipes, whistle and so on — add a warm breeze and a dash of Mediterranean romance to typically haunting, chilly tales like Western Sky and Nightwatchman. Likewise, his bittersweet, breathy Elvis Costello-ish vocals contrast and complement the exotic rhythms and ouzo-flavoured arrangements. However Eitzel feels about the results, fans will find The Ugly American pretty appealing.

 

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