Ampline is primarily about instrumentals—spacey, weird, grand, large, and interesting instrumentals. After the “Your Tongue or Your Life” intro, the group settle into a rather rousing garage rocker dubbed “Two Hands” that, gasp, has vocals?!? Yes, but it’s the music that propels the tune along. Other garage tracks include “Red and Yellow”, which has drummer Rick McCarty working triple time, resembling a number by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Kids in the Hall theme, kids) without the overt surf guitar. Bassist Kevin Schmidt and guitarist Mike Montgomery create a good amount of synergy with the challenging “Green Piano”, which is a cross between Yo La Tengo and Mogwai. The second half of the record has two long pieces, beginning with “We Are Appalachian”, which has voices in the distance before revving up into a tight, indie/alt.rock blueprint-cum-rave up. Meanwhile, “Have Gun, Will Travel” isn’t as adventurous and is more of a gear-shifting gallop into something that McCarty seems to take the reins on for most of the middle section.
// Notes from the Road
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