Sometimes, the early band on the bill is the one worth your dollars. Last year, when that glorified '80s tribute band The Killers rode the success of their debut record, Ambulance Ltd. opened for them, promoting a far superior rookie effort. Without a sexy marketing hook to guide them, these New York kids leaned hard on an old simple truism: Guitars rule. They show up everywhere on Ambulance Ltd. , and the first song's so propulsive it doesn't even bother with a vocal. Marcus Congleton's bandmates dip their axes in the same shimmering pools that once gave strength to My Bloody Valentine, but they prove their versatility by exploring different musical styles. (What other Brooklyn hard-rock band could shine with a ballad that borders on honky-tonk?) With recent profile-raising appearances on The O.C. and South by Southwest under their belts, these six-stringers don't need to coast on someone else's buzz any longer.
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