"Cold, remotely desolate, permanent." That's how Denali (the Richmond, Virginia-based band, not the Alaskan mountain) described its brand of spooky, down-tempo pop during its four-year lifespan. Formed with her older brother Keeley in 2000, Maura Davis' former band (R.I.P.) released a pair of highly regarded albums before calling it quits. The discs revealed a four-piece band drawing from the rainy-day soul and dreary down-tempo of Portishead along with the hipster croon and heady lyrics of Metric's Emily Haines. While picking up the tempo, Davis has progressed from sweetly morose goddess to slightly more chipper chanteuse since 2004. Previously known as Bella Lea, her new outfit Ambulette isn't exactly American Bandstand sing-along bubblegum pop. The 2007 EP The Lottery (Astralwerks) ranges from the breezy rock of "I've Got More" to the twangy balladry of "If You Go Away." Along with bassist Howard (Pinebender) and drummer Rapsys (Euphone, Heroic Doses), Davis teams with guitarist Matt Clark (Pinebender, White/Light, Joan of Arc) to broaden her sound. If her career were a game of hot/cold, Maura Davis would seem to be getting warmer.
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