Ambary Lake is a post-hardcore, alternative-rock group from Clifton, New Jersey, comprised of four core members: Nagee, Matt, Shawn, and Tom, with different drummers from time to time. A concept album about two lovers spending their last days together before the world ends, Red Sky Above is their first full-length recording.
Alright, I’m gonna be honest about this one. Overall, I was not very into this album. I spent my high school years in the suburbs, in the small Quebec city of Chateauguay, to be exact, and I felt like I had both seen and heard these guys before during my youth in that small town.
The narrative of the album is clear, and the tracks flow into one another well, but the problems with this album lie in its intention. Red Sky Above wants to tackle the entire emotional spectrum through the eyes of two people who have no time left. This is a beautiful sentiment, but a tall order, especially when the songs which make up the musical journey all sound very much the alike.
“I’ll Follow You” and “Apocalypse Now” show the musical talent apparent in this group of musicians, and transitional pieces like “Train Back Home” and “Stupid Things” give a good taste of original songwriting skills. However, the bulk of the album’s tracks all sound much too similar to me, so much so that halfway through my first listen I had trouble holding my focus. As I said, the problems don’t lie in the music itself. These guys can play. But playing isn’t enough sometimes, especially when trying to emulate the shifting spectrum of emotions. The overall tone of the album barely changes through the narrative, which was disappointing to me.
I think that with some time Ambary Lake could improve greatly. After all, this is a debut album. If you like breakdowns all day everyday and never want to forget what 2007 sounded like, I recommend Red Sky Above.
Written by Tyler Miller
*edited by Kate Erickson