When a band breaks up, it can be a good thing. The members who your ears felt a pull for will start new bands in new directions. Such is the case when Denali broke up, a band that started off jaw-dropping-good with Denali and then stagnated into something slightly better than generic with The Instinct that loomed into a large disappointment.
After releasing The Instinct, Denali somehow ended up touring with the Deftones and Poison the Well and this new instinctual uncertainty plateaued until Denali kicked the bucket. While everybody sans Davis continued with Engine Down, it was when Ambulette (initially known as Bella Lea) was announced with Davis singing that my jaw began to descend once again.
Hearing Ambulette in demo CD format and seeing them live confirmed a turn in a new direction. Whereas Denali bathed in atmospheric black fog with a mixture of electronics and instrumentation, Ambulette skips in an upbeat fashion that maintains feelings of melancholy but with pop structured leanings. Although Davis' voice is the main showcase, having people rocking the instruments who were previously in Pinebender, Joan of Arc, and Euphone doesn't hurt.
As striking as Davis' voice is on its own, on The Lottery, in "I've Got More" we hear it through a fan type effect (Darth Vader style) and a really full multi-tracking in "Seconds Until Midnight" for the chorus. The choice to cover "If You Go Away" allows Davis to show off a bit while a mood of musical dreariness is instilled with highs and lows. Throughout The Lottery there are themes of beauty with subtle sadness. While lead guitars seem to drift in and out reverb, Ambulette's rhythm stays consistently smooth.
I really would've enjoyed a re-recording of the 50's sounding love song "Save It" from the Bella Lea demo on The Lottery, but hopefully that's being saved for the Ambulette full-length. As long as no doozy is dropped in full-length format, Ambulette is going to light up the horizon in bright oranges and purples. It's a lottery that I'm hoping turns into big auditory winnings.
7.5 / 10
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