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an A.merican D.ream - MEXICAN SUMMER
FILTER Grade: 74%

By Marty Sartini Garner on March 27, 2013



When Michael Gerner’s Vietnam slouched onto the scene with 2004’s The Concrete’s Always Grayer on the Other Side of the Street, they seemed like a joke, and a pretty good one at that; with its rambling guitars and neverending screeds, Concrete was a nice dig at late ’60s idealism, like the VU’s “Black Angel’s Death Song” played for laughs. An A.merican D.ream struts back into those alleyways, but devoid of any kind of humor. Gerner’s rants have always treated meter like a suggestion, but here the lack of form is coupled by a pervasive, wide-eyed paranoia. The formlessness extends beyond the lyrics; interminable codas cap nearly every song, nudging tunes awake that seemed perfectly ready for bed. The gypsy-feathered ramble of “Flyin’” proves that Gerner’s still got it when he’s willing to edit, but it seems like mere coincidence that he glimpses that particular road from his caravanning detours. 


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