Sunday, January 23rd, 2005
Yoga Means Union
New York City’s Ambulance Ltd are one of those bands that, on paper, I should love. They draw on a slew of excellent influences from early-90s British rock and graft them onto solid pop tunes. At various points on their debut LP album, you can hear Blur-type guitar riffage, Spiritualized drones and atmospherics and My Bloody Valentine-esque whammy bar bends. Good stuff, right? So why does it sound like I’m going to follow this up with a “but”? Because I am. But it’s just a little but.
BUT. While they wear their influences on their sleeves, which is fine, they’re not entirely successful in absorbing them all and combining them into something cohesive. You can pick out the Blur song, and the Spiritualized song, and the MBV song… it’s not slavish imitation, but it’s pretty overt. What this means is that what you like about one song may be entirely absent from another song – everyone I’ve talked to about LP has commented on how they like a certain percentage of it. “I like maybe half the songs,” “There’s seven or eight great songs,” and so forth – it’s that easy to decide which ones you do and don’t like. And that’s fine if you’re a singles-centric person, just focus on the songs you like, ignore the rest. Me, I’m an album guy, and I would prefer to enjoy the entire effort. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike any of it (though the first single, “Primitive”, is for my money the worst song on the record and a large part of the reason I have only gotten around to discovering the band now), but I definitely play favourites, which is unusual.
Those mild reservations aside, I’ve grown to quite enjoy LP and expect bigger and better things from them in the future. I’m also pleased to see that they’ll be in town at the Mod Club on March 2, tickets $12.50 on sale now. They played here at least four times last year, but I didn’t catch any of them. Hey, win some, lose some. Their website has the usual media on offer – samples of the whole record, a couple videos and a couple downloadable MP3s and there’s a little bit more here. This interview with VH1 is interesting in that they don’t recognize The House Of Love’s “Shine On”, even though they seem to have done a pretty good job of borrowing from many of their contemporaries.
Speaking of the House of Love, check out the cover artwork and lyrics from Days Run Away, out February 28. You can also hear the first single, “Love You Too Much”, on BBC’s Roundtable. Listen to last Friday’s show and wait through the news report and commentator introductions – it’s the first track played. My opinion is about the same as Bradley’s – not overwhelmed. I was hoping for something a little more… epic. This one sounds like a bit of a throwaway, to be honest. The panelists are similarly underwhelmed.
Straight from the horse’s mouth – the horse in this case being Britt Daniel at the Arcade Fire show in Austin this past Friday – Spoon’s new one is coming out in early May and the most current title is still The Beast And Dragon Are Adored. The band will also be playing SXSW.
Zoilus drafts an interesting essay on the ongoing game of chicken between indie culture and pop culture for The Globe & Mail.
np – Spacemen 3 / The Perfect Prescription