wed 23/09/2020

CD: The Amazing - Ambulance | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Amazing - Ambulance

CD: The Amazing - Ambulance

Frustrating fourth album from Sweden’s masters of beauty and the vaporous

The album sleeve depicts the band as human trails of fog

A Venn diagram connecting the diffuse, distanced and drifting, The Amazing's Ambulance is hard to latch onto. Its first five tracks are etiolated cousins of the  Midlake of Antiphon, while also calling to mind Sydney dream-popsters The Church circa Heyday and Starfish, as well as fellow Australians The Moffs. Although beautiful, their vaporousness makes it difficult to keep them in focus.

A Venn diagram connecting the diffuse, distanced and drifting, The Amazing's Ambulance is hard to latch onto. Its first five tracks are etiolated cousins of the  Midlake of Antiphon, while also calling to mind Sydney dream-popsters The Church circa Heyday and Starfish, as well as fellow Australians The Moffs. Although beautiful, their vaporousness makes it difficult to keep them in focus. Then, as the seven-and-a-half minute “Through City Lights” progresses, any hold on the ear dissipates. The subsequent pair of acoustic guitar-centred tracks feel tacked on and, as attention has already been lost, pass by in a blur. The Amazing’s usual benchmarks of Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac and The Pink Floyd of More are in there too.

Sweden’s The Amazing feature frontman, songwriter and former Granada prime mover Christopher Gunrup, and guitarist and Dungen mainstay Reine Fiske. Initially, when 2009’s eponymous debut album came out, they seemed a part-time project rather than a durable band but now, with this fourth full-length album, it’s obvious they’re in it for the long haul.

Ambulance is frustrating. “Tracks” has some staggering guitar from Fiske (and most evokes The Moffs) and fantastic, jazzy drumming. The breakbeat-style percussion on “Blair Danger” (similar to that of their last album’s “Fryshusfunk”) breaks the mood but, as with Beach House, spectral gorgeousness is not enough. The atmosphere of detachment wins out and once over, Ambulance’s presence evaporates like early morning mist in the sun’s rays. It's fitting, then, that the band are depicted as human trails of fog on the sleeve.

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