Ambry - Holding On By The Blindfolds We Hide Behind (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Holding On By The Blindfolds We Hide Behind (2005)

The Death Scene

There's something to be said for a band whose chief influences apparently consistent of Hidden In Plain View and, namely, early Taking Back Sunday. Ambry may come from a state not exactly known for a feritle musical breeding ground (New Hampshire), but they're definitely performing a sound that's all too familiar...perhaps a bit too much, actually. Holding On By The Blindfolds We Hide Behind definitely has a few mind-numbingly catchy tracks going for it, but the scattered screams, lyrics inspired by way of backstabbing and rehashed formula are its painfully obvious faults.

As aforementioned, three main areas plague Blindfolds, that being the ridiculously derivative style, sophomoric songwriting, and an unnecessarily fleshed-out take. The first is easy to pick up on, as most of the band's guitar tones, vocal theatrics (including overdubbed yells) and even backup additions are DNA strands ripped straight from the double helix of Tell All Your Friends. The same could probably be said for the lyrics, but the bitterness of the band apparently isn't as inspired, resulting in cringeworthy diary B-sides like "my heart's in your hand / do what you want / I won't find out if you tear it apart." Finally, Blindfolds drags like Lucky Cheng's in July; seven of the eleven tracks eclipse the four-minute mark, usually touchy territory for Ambry's genre, since lengths like such aren't usually intended for the punk-pop-infused side of post-hardcore. It's sort of like the band doesn't know when to end a song, so they just keep playing...and playing...

Issues aside, there a few tracks guaranteed to stick after initial listens, even if they're rarely accompanied by enjoyability. "The Boy Who Had Two Shadows" and "Memory Or Tragedy" are candy-coated aneurysms, the latter of which is the band at their more aggressive; it's certain to be an MTV2 hit and favorite with the Senses Fail crowd if made into a video, with its well-placed screams, double-bass drums, impatient chorus and building bridge. But when the band isn't relying on the blatant catchiness they're obviously capable of conveying, they're mowing over frustrating clichés like token acoustic songs ("Linguistic Relativitiy For Horses") and adding weakly-executed handclaps to their purported mini-"emo" epics ("Postcards From California"). "Better Scene Than Heard" even opens up with a riff probably on loan from Fall Out Boy with a not-so-low APR rating. It's too bad, since there's serious promise shown in between tracks ten and eleven, completely out of place -- in terms of the style -- an instrumental interlude that experiments with some excellent atmospheric brushes that would've made for a far better 47+ minutes of music.

Ambry has put out a wholesome-sounding debut that's perfectly capable of launching them into relative underground stardom immediately, but as far as originality and unconventional songwriting goes, Holding On By The Blindfolds We Hide Behind is obviously a case of quantity over quality.

Better Scene Than Heard

The Boy Who Had Two Shadows
Car Crash Love
Dancing With My Confusion
A Collapse Of Confidence