On the Lamb is the latest release from New York punk band Amber Lamps. A combination of old-school pop-punk and bluesy rock, the EP is a catchy enough listen but did little to wow me. On the Lamb is a decent enough follow-up to their 2017 full-length Plaidypuss, but I think it’s time for the band to step out of the box a bit more with their songwriting.
The EP starts off with the song “Wanderlust,” an in your face pop-punk track that sounds to me like a mix of Alkaline Trio and Teenage Bottlerocket. The track is a solid opener and features some pretty funny lyrics coming out against the desire that every 20-something has felt to travel the world. Amber Lamps’ opener and closer, “Hindered Spirit,” are both great examples of how melodic the band can get. The latter is catchy as hell and has some great harmonies throughout and has a fairly simple, but effective, instrumental backing the vocals up. If you were a fan of the band’s previous release, you can rest assured that they can still up to the punx.
Amber Lamps does break away from the pop-punk sound they start out with. While I can commend the band for trying something new, it wasn’t a very strong showing. “Catastrophe” starts out with a cool, bluesy bass riff but it quickly lost my interest. The song has a fairly pedestrian rhyming scheme throughout and never really builds to anything, sticking to a verse, chorus, solo, etc. format. “Sola Catuli” falls victim to the same rhyme scheme as “Catastrophe,” making the would-be heartfelt ballad come across feeling uninspired. I love the fact that Amber Lamps strayed from their usual style with these tracks, but they would have been a lot more impactful had the band put more time into the writing process.
On the Lamb is a fine EP, but that’s about it. The songs I had expected to hear, given the band’s history, were solid and I can praise their choice to include some songs from out of left field. But while it may be new territory for Amber Lamps, there’s nothing on this release that really stood out to me.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito