The Ambulars - Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Ambulars

Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel (2012)

Salinas Records

The Ambulars, hailing from apparently Philadelphia and Chicago, have followed up a series of impressive EPs– Summer of the Ambulars, Summer Fling, and the Nothing to Say From Miles Away 7-inch– with their debut full-length Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel. The record shows the band tightening their already great blend of ‘90s indie rock, power-pop, and punk rock.

The geographically-challenged three piece feature great vocal interplay from guitarist Michael Cantor and bassist Jen Twigg. Jen's softer, more melodic singing provides a great contract to Michael's more forceful delivery on the opener "We're Golden," and she takes the lead on the subsequent "Tides" to great effect. And they come together to open "Hiding Out," their two distinct styles coming together beautifully over a simple guitar riff before the band kick in together.

Lyrically, the band tie their bright, uptempo songs to pretty bummer tales of dead end romances and jobs; the opener "We're Golden" sees in beginnings only endings. On what is approximately the title track, even dreams of love are potentially fatal, with the narrator asleep at the wheel.

With most of the tracks clocking in in the two to three-minute range, the album's eleven songs breeze by, each delivering a danceable melody and chantable downer chorus before quickly making way for the next.

Overall, this is a great debut full-length from a band that will hopefully continue to do great things. Fans of classic indie rock like Superchunk or the power pop of early Weezer would do well to give this a listen.

The record is available as a free download over on If You Make It.