When there’s a lot to unpack in a band’s sound it can sometimes be a minefield to find a place where a diamond falls. For Melbourne-based post-punk band Ambur, buy burying moments of beauty under harsh guitar tones and electronic reverb, it can be quite a lot for the pallet to take. The band’s latest offering Golden Years, their second EP, offers up four tracks of noise laden aggressive music, which if you dig beneath the surface are all complemented by the sweet sound of violin.
Opening track ‘Praise’ is a statement of intent – rough bass tones accompanied by shouted gang vocals, a tried and tested formula used by many a punk band before them sure, but halfway through the track fades into an ambient breakdown which feels like a complete left turn – and it works too, drawing the listener ever further in. This blueprint is then completely flipped on its head for ‘Your Loss’ where the violin is the driving force behind the song this time, the vocals and blasting drums not making an appearance until very near the end of the track. With the words ‘No one is above. Least of all myself’ closing out the song filled with raw passion this feels like the band at their strongest.
For all its interesting elements, there is still room for growth – some of the intricacies of the drums gets lost in the fuzz at times, often sounding quite low in the mix. Indeed, it would certainly be interesting to hear them clearer in future recordings. However, this offering does give the listener a lot of food for thought and certainly whets the appetite for what is yet to come from Ambur.
Golden Years is out now and be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck