The triumphant return of San Francisco's glum, genre-defying American Music Club won't disappoint fans who have waited more than ten years for a new record from the ensemble. Fronted by the volatile and brilliant, alcoholic and depressive Mark Eitzel, AMC released seven records between 1986 and 1994, combining folk, country, punk and jazz into a sound that distinguished it as a unique voice in, um, American music. When the band split at its mid-'90s peak, a reunion seemed too much to wish for and yet inevitable. This year's Love Songs for Patriots is a collection of darkly poetic, lushly orchestrated tunes that fit in favorably with AMC's back catalogue. Highlights include the rocking opener, "Ladies & Gentlemen," the stripped-down ballad "Mantovani the Mind Reader," the clever "Myopic Books" and the beautiful melody and harmonies of "Song of the Rats Leaving the Sinking Ship." Like much of Eitzel's solo work, there's a paucity of hooks and choruses, but there's also a wealth of lovely guitar and piano figures, heartfelt vocals and extraordinary lyrics. For those who've enjoyed Eitzel's solo output and have missed the distinctive sound of AMC, Love Songs for Patriots is a must-have.