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Ampledeed - 2016 - "BYOB"

(57:06, Ampledeed)


TRACK LIST:                             

1. Triple Cancer Moon 6:45
2. My Plane 3:29
3. You're a Libra and She's a Bitch 5:42
4. Garden Gnomes 4:24
5. Monolithium 7:10
6. I Will Not Wait 3:34
7. On My Mind the Gap for Kids in the Hall of Fame by Fame 1:18
8. Steve Lied 2:49
9. The Space Between Your Face 5:10
10. The Greatest Gatsby 9:46
11. Muffin Man 6:59


Aaron Goldich - vocals, keyboards
Max Taylor - vocals, keyboards
Luis Flores - guitars, vocals, cuatro
Isaac Watts - drums, bass, vocals
Aaron Munoz - bass
Allie Taylor - vocals
Lisa Vitale - vocals

Prolusion. US band AMPLEDEED was formed back in 2011, consisting of half of the members of progressive rock band The Source now teaming up with new bandmates. They released their debut album "A Is for Ampledeed" in 2013. "BYOB" is their second studio production, and was self-released by the band at the start of 2016.

Analysis. There are many things that can be said about this US band, but among the aspects of this band that will be of primary interest is that they are rather fond of vintage era progressive rock, that they do not like to explore merely one subset of it, and that they appears to focus on creating appealing and easy to like music inside a fairly eclectic general context. As far as the latter aspect is concerned, this means that "BYOB" is an album that by and large shies away from the challenging and demanding aspects of progressive rock. It isn't a case of not being sophisticated, but rather than the compositions are made fairly consistently to be easy on the ears. The instrument motifs are flowing and elegant, the mood and atmosphere explored and tones used to accomplish that tend to be light and uplifting, and the key instrument throughout appears to be the piano. The lead vocals and vocal harmonies reflect this aspect as well, all vocalists here being harmony and melody oriented, with a soft and gentle touch as main characteristics. The songs themselves have a few areas of complexities to them however. These aren't merely soft and inviting creations without depth, but rather brings quite a few dimensions to the table. A certain soft spot for symphonic backdrops, be it from layered keyboards, organ or both, can be mentioned as a dominant trait. Hovering textured guitar textures as an occasional treat alongside quirky plucked guitar details another aspect, in this case with what I'd generally describe as a Crimsonian touch. Darker tones and textures are applied on select occasions too, and these two would by and large fall under this description as far as I'm concerned. A last dominant trait to note is the use of jazz-oriented instrument details as a running feature, either as a subtle undercurrent or as a dominant feature, if not throughout the entire length of all songs then at least as visible aspects that dominate in a set number of passages or interludes. As seasoning, Americana details appear here and there, alongside occasional psychedelic and cosmic tinged sounds and effects. All of this is then wrapped up in what I'd describe as a vintage oriented sound and atmosphere, crafted by way of mix and production, but also, I suspect, from some of the key instruments used when this album was recorded.

Conclusion. There are many bands out there that aims to recreate the sounds, moods and atmospheres of the vintage era progressive rock bands. Ampledeed is a good example of a band doing just that, and managing to do so without coming across as sounding too alike to any of the giants of yesteryear. If vintage era progressive rock is your thing, then Ampledeed is a band that merits a check, and "BYOB" comes across as a splendid manner in which to start getting to know the qualities of this band.

Progmessor: January 28th, 2018
The Rating Room

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