Brooklyn quintet Ambulance Ltd's eponymous album demonstrates the group's resistance to being limited by the garage-rock sound that city has recently become associated with. A great deal more somber and introspective than its 2003 self-titled EP, Ambulance Ltd falls somewhere between the solid indie-rock sensibilities of Pavement, the classic yet progressive compositions of Big Star, and the reverb-heavy, hollow atmospherics of My Bloody Valentine.
It also pays homage to the Sixties era with its lighthearted harmonies and powerful grasp on melody. The quietly happy, understated, and unfettered instrumentation of "Young Urban" has a feel-good familiarity, while the upbeat, rolling rhythms of "Stay Where You Are" could be the musical accompaniment to a drive in a top-down convertible. Guitarist/vocalist Marcus Congleton's spoken words on "Primitive (The Way I Treat You)," backed by fellow guitarist Benji Lysaght's simple twangs, are a sharp contrast to the shimmering wall of sound on "Heavy Lifting."
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These very tracks, however, are the ones that were featured on the EP, which gave that record a soft, cheerful, summer vibe. The newer material on the full-length has an edgy tint to it, and the infectious feeling the EP had is noticeably missing. Although this dark element gives another dimension to Ambulance Ltd, the album never quite hits the mark, instead serving as decent filler for those four outstanding songs.