Reviews

Euphemystic

Author: Ryan Allen
10/01/2001 | Lost at Sea | www.lostatsea.net | Album Review
The soothing baritone of drummer Joe Knapp was first heard on "A Line Allows Progress, a Circle Does Not," off of Bright Eyes' Every Day and Every Night EP. It was a
perfect and inventive contrast to the throaty tenor of Conor Oberst, prompting many people, myself included, to say, "Who the hell is that singing?"

Following the release of Fevers and Mirrors came a split Insound Tour Support EP from Bright Eyes and a little known project called Ambulance, who just happened to be the brain child of Knapp (who apparently lived with Oberst as roommates). After this release went virtually unnoticed (because it honestly was not all that impressive), Bright Eyes again did a split with the now renamed Son, Ambulance called Oh, Holy Fools. Although the release featured some of the most engaging Bright Eyes songs to date, the real treat was hearing the skewed pop meanderings of Son, Ambulance. Armed with a piano, a cheap acoustic guitar, a fun and loose rhythm section, Knapp impressed many Bright Eyes fans with his charming voice and childlike stories of time spent in parks and movie star crushes.

With Euphemystic, Knapp finally steps outside of Bright Eyes' shadow (although Oberst does make an appearance on the jazzy bar room confessional "Violet"), and into the light of staggeringly emotional and mature, yet at the same time fun and innocent singer-songwriter pop mastery.

Knapp exemplifies his brilliant knack to combine the two, as the first five tracks, including the upbeat and rocking pop of "An Instant Birth," the breezy and keyboard centric "Book Laid on it's Binding," and the bossinova turn in "Maria in Motion," contain a seriousness of a well experienced songwriter. As the record progresses, the clever fun of Son, Ambulance sneaks in on "The Mermaid Song," coupling the melotron of Seventies AM pop with the soulfulness that only a Rhodes electric piano can emote. The melody of the Sesame Street theme song even shows up during the end of "I'll Promise You I'll Never Grow Old."

Who knew that Omaha, Nebraska would rival the musical collectives only seen recently in Seattle, Chicago, and Halifax, Nova Scotia? With the genius of Bright Eyes, the power of Cursive, the all out fun of the Faint, and now, with the release of Euphemystic, the modest musings of Son, Ambulance proves that Omaha is more than cornfields and cattle.
Euphemystic

Euphemystic

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