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The Ramblin' Ambassadors

Ramble On

(Mint; US: 6 Mar 2012; UK: 6 Mar 2012)

Surf's up!

Calgary’s Ramblin’ Ambassadors offer up a high-octane mix of instrumental guitar pyrotechnics, part Dick Dale, part Enrico Morricone. With reverb by the bucketful and whammy-bar bending galore, these ten lean tunes clock in at well under 30 minutes. Nothing lasts longer than 2:52, so there’s not a lot of filler here. “Clambake!” is a standout courtesy of its head-banging rhythms and whistling Farfisa, but the frenetic “Tyger Beat” and straight-ahead riffage of “Super Lungbucket” are effective as well. Guitarists Brent J. Cooper and Doug Waite take most of the limelight, as this is a bare-bones roots-rock four-piece that eschews anything as prog as, y’know, vocals—never mind harpsichord, bongos or glockenspiel. Planning a late-night road trip? You just found your soundtrack. Fair warning, though: you might have to play it several times over before you arrive.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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The Ramblin' Ambassadors - Clambake!
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Calgary's surf-rock instrumentalists add a contemporary edge to the grinding-guitar, tassell-teasing strip-club sound of the '50s and the reverbed fun in the sun of the '60s.
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