Euphemystic by Son, Ambulance

10 October 2019

Good music often has the ability to create an image in the listener’s mind. Such is the case with Son, Ambulance’s debut album Euphemystic. As one listens, it is impossible not to feel a variety of emotions. It is full of poetic lyrics, warm vocals, and beautiful instrumentation. Joe Knapp’s unique vocals contribute to the album, creating an atmosphere that is hard to find in most music. At times, the album is oddly reminiscent to sitting and talking among friends.

The album opens with the lyrically based song “An Instant Death.” It is melodically simple with repetitive instrumentation. The simple sound combined with the complex lyrics creates a song that is both enjoyable and meaningful. Appropriately enough, the track “An Instant Death,” is followed by the track “An Instant Birth.” This track is much more upbeat with catchy instrumentation, a description of suddenly being inspired in life. Next is the track “Seven Days.” This is yet another successful song, featuring layered vocals. Low-pitched, almost spoken lines underlie the main vocals. These lines contribute to one another to create contrasting, yet somehow similar descriptions of love. Piano is the primary instrument throughout this song, beginning the trend throughout the album. The fourth track, “A Book Laid On Its Binding,” is yet another beautiful song with full instrumentation that seems to just fall together into the vocals to create a complex whole. From the opening lyric, “Our lives twist like woven threads on an endless loom of time,” it is clear that these lyrics will be beautiful, and the song does not disappoint.

Toward the middle of the album, however, the album begins to drag temporarily. The fifth track is the Spanish inspired “Maria in Motion,” which occasionally has an almost irritating sound. The song on a whole is good, but there are portions that detract from it. The sixth and seventh tracks, “Anonymous” and “Like A Friend” are both weaker tracks, as well, although not unpleasant to listen to. These songs have weak melodies and simple instrumentation, so they do not grab at the listener like the other tracks on the album.

The album picks up quickly, however, with the eighth track, “I Promise You’ll Never Grow Old.” It is upbeat, catchy, and cheerful. The melody is wonderful, and it feels like a song of summer. It is a love song of the oddest kind, telling of a relationship that has ended, but the story is told without bitterness, only joy about what had been. The ninth track “A New Dress for Maybell” relies solely on piano instrumentation. It is another sad song, but there is a message of hope throughout.

The album ends with what may very well be the best song of all. It is titled “Violet” and features vocals by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. It is quite different from the rest of the album, featuring jazz and blues influences. The piano is used to produce full chords, and the lyrics are beautiful. This is easily one of the most emotional songs on the album. This is a song that can be felt. It ends on a hopeful, powerful note, a perfect end to the album.

Despite a few weak tracks, Euphemystic is definitely a success. It is an album that can actually cause the listener to view things differently. Anyone who enjoys indie music, poetic lyrics, and beautiful music should definitely give it a listen.

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