Monday, April 09, 2012

AMBULANCES Feelin' Sick / Shine On My Shoes

Living and recording in the shadow of mutually assured destruction (Rosyth the now de-commissioned nuclear submarine base) and with the sad death of a band member last year, you could forgive Ambulances for being overly obsessed with life cruelly foreshortened. And this is before you get to their name, the fact there last album was called “The Future That Was” and that the cover of this double A-sided single features a propeller airplane coming out of a tail-spin.

‘Feelin’ Sick’, despite its title and this backdrop, actually feels quite alive, optimistic and on a steady course in its opening moments. Initial reassurance is replaced by a sinking feeling – oh no, dreaded white-boy indie-dub-skank. Fear not, the Fife group neatly avoid a early press of the ‘stop’ button by delivering a hypnotic, loping rhythm that is sturdy and solid, and paired with a dark, late 80s sobriety and some steely-soft, almost spoken vocals from Scott Lyon. The clever combination of taut and loose, catchy and sombre, works well and it builds with some squelchy synth pulses into a densely layered and intense finale. It reminds me of ex-Beta Band man Steve Mason in his King Biscuit Time guise.

The other song ‘Shine On My Shoes’ is a summery chug which balances out vocal duties with Sara Colston joining Lyon in some gorgeous boy-girl harmony interplay. Together with the other band members – guitarist Graham Jack, bassist Stephen Oswald – they plant a flag somewhere between Ladytron and The Dandy Warhols.

This is my first proper encounter with the Scottish band having not heard their 2009 Kramer-produced debut album. But these six and a half minutes are a promising curtain-raiser for full length album “Flying Simply Explained” that follows this summer.

Ambulances Feelin’ Sick / Shine On My Shoes [BUY]

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