The United States of America

The United States of America

Though they only cut one album in 1968, ripples from the innovation of the United States of America are still shaping bands. Led by Joe Byrd, they were among the first to make use of the ring modulator, an analog synthesizer that became an integral Krautrock instrument. The cool and sedate singing of Dorothy Moskowitz played a big part in The U.S.A.’s sound. She also inspired the icy style of Broadcast’s late Trish Keenan as heard in the opening “The American Metaphysical Circus,” where Moskowitz’s plaintive inflections compliment a chaotic and artful sound built on avant-garde production and psychedelic baroque-pop. In the rocking “Hard Coming Love” she sings like Grace Slick sans vocal gymnastics before the gorgeous “Cloud Song” returns to her gossamer cooing. “Where Is Yesterday” surpasses Rotary Connection in accessible weirdness, while “Love Song for the Dead Che” is an ethereal standout. The ten bonus tracks play like a second album starting with the Eastern-influenced lullaby “Osamu’s Birthday” before the pocket epic “No Love to Give” plays with proggy brilliance. “Heresy (Coming Down)” ends on a danceable groove.

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