A better-than-average debut, Connecticut's Ambitions serves up some melodic hardcore as they attempt to dodge hardcore genre clichés and infuse their lyrics with subtle references to classic literature.
Built on the bones of the disbanded With Honor, brothers Jay and Jeff Aust formed Ambitions. With a surprisingly heavy, melodic hardcore/punk sound reminiscent of early AFI, Ambitions sets themselves apart from their contemporaries thanks in part to Jay Aust's vocals bearing a distinctive, velvety rasping tone. While delivering a solid debut disc with better-than-competent musicianship, Ambitions still passes through the ol' genre turnstile with entire band sing-alongs on refrains of all of their songs and sometimes, overpowering drums. Nevertheless, there is sound musicianship from all points of the quintet. Ambitions issues some surprising pieces that aren't quite the genre-norm with the harmony-heavy "Overstep" and the melodic instrumental, "Stranger". There is a common thread of sound woven through the 13 tracks on Stranger, with many of the songs sonically flowing into one another. Thematically, that concept applies to Stranger lyrically, as well. While rampant with the ethos of railing against the establishment staple of hardcore, Ambitions loudly proclaim "your vision is not my life". With a love for Camus, their leanings towards literature manifests lyrically with the band attempting more eloquent approaches to what they feel needs to be heard.