Ambleside’s new album further shapes them
By Peter R. Clark Entertainment Editor
Ambleside is a melodic hardcore band from Adelaide, Australia. Recently they released their new EP “Shape Me,” containing six songs each a little different from one another.
What struck me most about this EP is that every song has some sort of catchy part to it. I found myself singing along with a lot of them.
The first song, “Good Enough?” begins with some clean singing by Dean Laurence, one of the band’s guitarist as well as lead singer, that is repeated throughout the song. When this section is repeated again, it’s refreshing in the sea of gravelly vocals by Daniel Stevens. Stevens is present throughout this entire album, and the exchange between Stevens and Laurence is great.
“Good Enough?” is a light affair before the heavier songs. It contains some impressive parts that play with the Stevens’ vocals and patterns. A number of sections in this song have great drumming from Ash Mayes. The drumming on this song is reminiscent to the song “Fade” by Casey. It’s methodical and pleasant on the ears.
“Wash Away” is the EP’s second song, and is about love and loss. This song was released a number of months prior to this EP’s release, in the form of the music video. The music video depicts someone falling in love, only for their beloved to die on the day they propose.
The line repeated throughout the song is quite striking, “bottle up the pain / let it rain and wash away / let it carry you to a better place / don’t forget my name.” This song’s flow reminds me of punk bands from the mid 90s. It has the modern melodic hardcore nature throughout the song. This song is fast, and at times repetitive. Despite that, it shows what Ambleside is capable of. The guitar work by both Laurence and Jackson Buckler complements the heavier nature of the lyrics.
The EP’s best song is “Wasted.” This song is incredibly relatable to me, as it is about wasting one’s life. This song is similarly paced to “Good Enough?”, but contains enough variety to deem it different enough. The chorus comes at a surprise, and I was glad it came. The bass work by Jonathan Young is excellent and really complements the song’s structure. I can’t praise this song enough; it’s near perfect.
Another good song is “Forgive Me, Pt. 1.” I almost didn’t acknowledge this song at first, because it blended in too well to the rest of the album. However, the ending section of this song was unexpected. It’s a wall of sound, and the descending part that threw me for a loop. It’s powerfully emotional and melodic.
As a note, this album does not include a “Forgive Me, Pt. 2,” so it is safe to assume that it will be coming late. Prior to the ending, there is a pseudo-call and response section where the two singers play off each other.
The worst song on this album is unfortunately “Dear Mother.” It has good intentions, but it is almost a speed bump on this album. Unlike the previous song, this speed bump is intrusive to the nature of the album. It is slow, and feels really out of place. The vocalist’s vocals set on top of the already slow song doesn’t quote work here. A number of bands have attempted this in the past, and succeeded, but there is something about this song that doesn’t work. The vocalist’s voice is just not made for this type of song.
“Shape Me” is a great installment to Ambleside’s discography, despite it having one track that doesn’t quite fit. When Ambleside releases a full-length I’m sure it will please fans of melodic hardcore and the band alike.