Local Music Reviews
Ambedo = Cold War Kids + Beach House + The Mountain Goats
Opening with crackling campfire-like nostalgia, Ambedo’s Polyresin makes me feel young again (in the best way), cramped like so many clowns in the back of someone’s Volkswagen on the way to a much-anticipated garage party. The album has all the energy of a sprightly night like that. Oh, the longing! The acoustic angst! The urge to scream-sing in your car!
Framed by storytelling “sessions,” the album invites you on a journey through the drama of living in and leaving a small town—a town where “there’s some straaange shit going on,” where all your ex-lovers linger, where you know everything and everyone yet it feels like no one knows you. Maybe this is why it reminded me so much of my teens and young adulthood! The album’s story arc is a little less a coming-of-age than it is a questioning-of-age, an anxiety of purpose and place. The final lyrical song on the album,“Davis Has a Cute Bird,” sums up this liminal anxiety toward growing up and moving on: “Cut expenses down / The city is the brand new ghost town / I’ll make my family proud with my poor kid chic / Did you know? Do you love me? I don’t know, are you angry? / Do you know? Is it money? I don’t know why I bother.”
Polyresin is right—this album is a compound blend of influence from tip to toes. Band members Brandon Keith (frontman, vocals), Willie Corrigan (guitar), Madeline Cole (bass), Lincoln Numbers (drums) and Quincy Lloyd (keyboard) amplify their style of nouveau indie folk-punk with R&B samples, warm and glimmering instrumentation, contemplative lyrics and piercing spoken-word interludes throughout the project. This creates an eclectic mix of aesthetics throughout Polyresin; parts of the album feel like deep-cuts from Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning; other parts are infused with Daniel Johnston-style instrumental arrangements and a Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers melodic whine.
The track “Everyday” has a punk-anthem energy that demands to be heard live—or at least at top volume—while tracks like “Last November” and “Have Armor” offer an emotional rawness on par with any Death Cab for Cutie classic. These blended elements keep the album alive—it moves in vignettes, punctuated by unique vocal samples and surprising twists. It feels fresh and cohesive, and the changes in mood and tempo throughout are so well-timed that it almost feels wrong to listen to the tracks out of order. It feels like all my favorite bands got together, threw a garage party and the result was Polyresin. –Libby Leonard
Read more music coverage with coming-of-age themes:
Local Review: Federal Heights – Federal Heights
The Aces Talk Queer Coming-of-Age in Suburban Utah