Ambry - Holding on by the Blindfolds We Hide Behind
Release Date: May 17, 2005
Record Label: Death Scene
Ambry's Holding on by the Blindfolds We Hide Behind reminds me a lot of Saves the Day's Through Being Cool and The Movielife's Forty Hour Train Back to Penn, but not nearly as good as either, and singer Chris Thibeault's voice is much like a mix of Geoff Rickley's (Thursday), Chris Conley's (Saves the Day), and Adam Lazarra's (Taking Back Sunday). Needless to say, Ambry's music is rather derivative and unoriginal, but they do what they do well enough that fans of today's emo/screamo scene will have no problem adding this CD to their collection.
Throughout the album, Ambry employs fast paced tempos (for the most part), punchy, hard-hitting guitars, and pretty standard-fare "emo" vocals. Occasionally, Ambry will throw in a scream here and there, such as in the bridge of "The Boy with Two Shadows," sporadically throughout "Memory or Tragedy," and other random places on the CD, but I feel like the screams don't help the music. I'd rather see Ambry ditch the screams and cliché emo style to focus more on their songwriting--they have the potential to be a much better band.
The album kicks things off with "Better Scene than Heard," a relatively aggressive, melodic track very similar to "Face or Kneecaps" by The Movielife. By the way, I do realize that it seems like I'm talking way too much about other bands' music, rather than Ambry's, but honestly, it's a very good way of describing the music found on the album. In fact, the final track, "A Collapse of Confidence," would fit right in on Thursday's War All the Time. Some people may welcome this musical familiarity, but I'd rather hear something original. I'm not asking for ground-breaking music or anything like that, just something a little more unique. While I'm not really a fan of the CD, I don't especially dislike any of the songs except for one: "Linguistic Relativity for Horses"--an acoustic track that could benefit from much, much better guitar playing and in tune vocals.
The production on the CD is disappointing, especially for a name as well known as Jesse Cannon. The guitars are very "mid"-dy, trebly, dirty, lack clarity, and seem to crowd certain layers out (such as the octave lead lines), the kick drum for the most part isn't as effective as it could be, and the mix just seems sloppy as a whole. Also, it sometimes feels like there isn't a bass player in the band, so either increasing the bass guitar in the mix or giving the overall CD more low end might fix that problem.
Ambry has a lot of potential, and I'd like to see them take their own direction rather than emulating popular "scene" bands. However, if you simply want energetic, melodic emo/screamo/punk and don't care if you've heard the same music many times before, give Ambry a listen. Fans of Thursday, Senses Fail, and The Used might enjoy this band, but just remember that it's nothing unique.