Well folks, California's Ampledeed is back with their second full length album titled BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) and not surprisingly it is another stellar release. The band caught me off guard with their first album A Is For Ampledeed in 2013, seemingly coming out of nowhere to release a finely crafted slice of eclectic progressive rock. I think their new album is even more refined, expanding on their take of complex yet melodic retro flavoured prog.
In the band are:
Aaron Goldich (vocals, keyboards)
Max Taylor (vocals, keyboards, bass)
Luis Flores (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals)
Isaac Watts (drums, vocals)
Aaron Munoz (bass)
Allie Taylor (vocals)
Lisa Vitale (vocals)
Continuing on a similar path as their debut, the band take complex and unorthodox song structures and shape them into highly listenable pieces of progressive rock, particularly influenced by the Canterbury scene. Quirky time changes is a definite signature of the band as well as tunefully melodic lead vocals, stellar arrangements and complex vocal parts taking a page out of the Gentle Giant songbook. Although one can hear the band's influences I think Ampledeed are doing something a little different than your typical retro flavoured prog band as they are developing a sound that is certainly becoming their own.
On the album opener "Triple Cancer Moon" the sound builds as monochromatic lead vocals morph into a complex male/female arrangement as the music flows through various changes. The instrumentation gets heavier, the tempo increases and the keyboards come to the fore showcasing the band's penchant for excellent musicianship. "My Plane" has more of a poppy edge to their idiosyncratic progressive leanings and I can hear The Beatles and XTC. The tempo fluctuates as the keyboard heavy soundscape gives way to an angular guitar solo. The album epic has to be the almost ten minute "The Greatest Gatsby" where an extremely funky intro screams of the '70s before the song courses through various keyboard/guitar led themes taking the listener into progressive rock bliss. The transitions are seamless demonstrating the band's tremendous skill on their respective instruments. "Muffin Man" is a wonderful album ending track with delicious Beatles influenced vocal harmonies, various shades of heavy and light and a high musical complexity yet with poppier leanings as well. There are eight other tunes that are as equally rewarding, revealing textures and nuances with each successive listen.
The band as upped their game on BYOB, continuing to forge their own sound in a unique and interesting way. To put it succinctly Ampledeed make delightfully entertaining modern progressive rock with a subte retro flavour that any fan of the genre would do well to check out!
1. Triple Cancer Moon
2. My Plane
3. You're a Libra…and She's a Bitch
4. Garden Gnomes
6. I Will Not Wait
7. On My Mind the Gap For Kids in the Hall of Fame by Fame
8. Steve Lied
9. The Space Between Your Face
10. The Greatest Gatsby
11. Muffin Man
Added: February 15th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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