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Ampline

Rosary

(Shake It; US: 31 Jan 2007; UK: Available as import)

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.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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