I've only had this record for about a week and I've already listened to it about 20 times through. Make it a priority to download this record and if you love it, donate back to the band so they can keep making awesome records like this. For fans of Superchunk and the best parts of The Ataris. Someone should put this out on vinyl, it's a no-brainer.
This would make a good companion piece to the new Swearin' record.
The Ambulars might be one of those bands you'd call a "well kept secret" if you were the type of person who said that sort of thing. Loosely based (until recently) in D.C., everyone around here who's seen them in the past couple of years has been basically shitting their pants in anticipation of their first full length record, "Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel." But if you weren't in on the secret before, consider this a very very pleasant surprise. It's emotivepowerpoppunk done perfectly; conjuring nostalgia, heartache and ultimately hope through their infectious feel good/feel bad melodies. I'd reference their influences, and I imagine they are probably influenced by some other bands that I never listened to and now I never have to because the Ambulars are so much better. They'll tear their knives through your teenage heart or at least remind you what that felt like.David Combs AKA Spoonboy
Delightfully flirting with a number of subgenres yet avoiding the effect of tacky pastiche, Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel defies classification. The influence of older generations of power pop and indie predominates, but there are shoegazy moments (the tremolo work on the guitar is reminiscent of the Swirlies) and 90's rock vibes (think Lemonheads and Gin Blossoms), and throughout runs a pop-punk sensibility that reminds the listener that the Ambulars have lived and loved with Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio in their ears, and are no strangers to the world of diy. If you listen carefully enough you can even hear, in the quiet echoes of Jawbox and Fugazi, that they are originally from the DC area (or maybe I'm just projecting).
One of the record's strongest features is the dynamic range in tempo, intensity, and mood, perhaps best exemplified by the contrast between pop-bangers like Teenage Hate and We're Golden on the one hand, and the melancholy bummer-jam Atonal Eclipse of the Heart on the other (not gonna lie, that song nearly made me cry). Yet there is a subtle cohesion that keeps the dynamic range from spilling over into a disjointed mess. No matter the mood, the vocal melodies have a similar texture, and even the saddest moments are complicated and bittersweet rather than whiney and one-dimensional, while the catchiest are not without a tinge of darkness. Its emotional range and complexity, as well as the abundance of hooks and foot-tappers, make this record appropriate for summer sing-alongs and lonely moping alike. And what else would you want music for?Jack Samuel