Atonal Eclipse of the Heart by The Ambulars

The DIY scene is something of a lie. Yes, anybody can pick up a guitar, press its strings, and strum, but not everyone can make music. No matter how “punk” it may seem to say that music can be created by just about anyone, it is simply a false statement. DIY comes alive through work ethic, not attempt. So what constitutes a great DIY band? Two things: passion and talent. Anybody can strum a G-C chord progression, sing mediocre lyrics through a tape recorder and release bedroom copies of the “single,” while simultaneously hailing to be the newest “lo-fi” sensation. It takes true talent to be a good  lo-fi artist. The Ambulars, a pop-punk trio from Philadelphia cooked up DIY’s sweaty blue collar grit while adding a little ingredient of their own: infectious pop on their excellent new album, Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel. “Atonal Eclipse of the Heart” is what would happen if Superchunk and MXPX had a baby. The guitars are grungy and fuzzy yet never stop being melodic, the vocals are pleading and hurt, and the melody is one-hundred percent pop. The lyrics are an interesting take on the archaic theme of the break-up, with lines like, “It’s so intangible for some I used to hold,” and “when I’m lying like a child in your arms, every now and then I fall apart.” The most gripping aspect about “Atonal Eclipse of the Heart” is its familiarity; each listen contains a nice feeling of deja vu. The Ambulars feel very 1999-2001 era with their rowdy pop-punk melodies and catchy pop choruses. “Atonal Eclipse of the Heart” is a refreshing take on an aging genre.

-Ryan

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