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Ambulance Ltd | LP | review | rock | Lollipop
by Brian Varney
Last year's five-song EP by these NYC dwellers was a nice surprise, a collection of poppy indie-rock gems that managed to reel in a non-indie rocker like myself, which I suppose is some kind of indication of quality. In any case, I liked it enough to keep an eye open for a full-length.
The first thing that bears mentioning is that four of the EP's five songs also appear on LP, though I suspect a couple of them have been either remixed or totally rerecorded. Unfortunately, the second is that they're the best songs here. I don't mean to imply that the other songs on LP are total losers, in fact, a couple of 'em - like the Kinksy stroll of "Anecdote" and the luminous "Ophelia" - show tremendous promise. But the four songs taken from the EP - "Stay Where You Are," "Primitive," "Heavy Lifting," and "Young Urban" - are the album's lynchpins, the braces without which the album would crash to the ground in pieces. So what you've got is four really good songs, a couple of others that are pretty good, and some that are not so good. It's a considerably lower batting average and certainly a different listening experience than a five-song EP that's killer from start to finish.
I'm not sure what this means for the future of Ambulance Ltd. Did the band shoot its wad on the EP? Is LP perhaps an example of the dreaded sophomore curse? Were the songwriting and recording rushed? I don't have answers for any of these questions, but as Bob Plant would say, it makes me wonder. I'll continue to cherish the EP, but I will probably approach the band's next full-length venture with less enthusiasm that I did this one.