Local Wire

Ambulance LTD

The only conceivable way this seven-song EP from Ambulance LTD -- released as an appetite-whetter for the quartet's second full-length, due later this year -- could come across more British is if there were a scratch 'n' sniff circle on the booklet cover that smelled like fish and chips. Not that the notion of stylish, model-handsome Brooklynites swiping ideas nearly wholesale from three decades' worth of U.K. guitar rock is all that shocking anymore, but this foursome's larcenies still are as audacious as a noontime Bank of England heist. Over the title track's rustic shuffle, and an acoustic demo version of "Heavy Lifting" (the original appears on the band's 2004 debut), frontman Marcus Congleton dons some Suede as he appropriates Brett Anderson's fey, high-pitched warble. On both "Country Gentleman" and "Arbuckle's Swan Song," the foursome takes the Wigan route to Detroit, reinterpreting the Verve's Urban Hymns reinterpretations of Motown soul. And hey, if you're gonna dive headfirst into arty Brit-rock, you may as well go straight for one of the sources -- thus the ultra-faithful cover of Pink Floyd's "Fearless." Thing is, whereas the band's also-Anglophilic debut had enough good songs to justify all the thievery, the new tracks offered here are, alas, rather limp and bland. Hopefully the next batch will be better.
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Michael Alan Goldberg