Author: Jennifer Perkins
11/06/2001 | | | Album Review
Although I am typically a sucker for sappy 70's music, Son, Ambulance's stab at the genera does not capture my heart. This is not to say the band or their full length release Euphemystic is without merit, it just means it didn't catch my attention and that could be for a myriad of reasons.

For one the poor guys are having to live in the shadows of label mates like Cursive, The Faint and Bright Eyes (who they previously split a release with). These are tough acts to follow, people have come to expect everything Saddle Creek touches to be gold. As to where the previously mentioned bands have managed to conquer their individual genres (math rock, 80's new wave, heart felt acoustic rock) Son, Ambulance seems to be struggling some what to try and figure out what their sound is exactly. You have to know what your goal is before you can reach it.

Son, Ambulance is trying its damnedest to distinguish themselves. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way of trying to sound diverse they never manage to hone one distinct sound to call their own. For example the CD's opening track "Instant Death" one minute Joe Knapp is showing us his strong side plucking an acoustic guitar and then intermittently a full band comes in that sounds like it is playing a cover of Great White's "Once Bitten Twice Shy". I am just not sure it works. This is one of many similar experiences on the CD.

Euphemystic indeed has some highlights, "A Book Laid on it's Binding" is one example. This is where Mr. Knapp taps into his inner Geoff Farina (ala Secret Stars style). When it is just Joe, his guitar and his emotions he is at his best. Leave all the bells and whistles behind and just give us heart wrenching acoustic stuff.

Somewhere in-between singing the theme song to Sesame Street and attempts at 70's soft rock there is a glimmer of Son, Ambulance's true potential.


LP / CD / MP3