On Ambulance, the Swedish band composed of members of Dungen & led by Christoffer Gunrup, continues their journey to a place where music is free of restrictions, offering up another collection of densely concentrated melodies and fractured rhythms. Pitchfork summed their sound up well on their last record, saying “discussion of Picture You can only end up with slack-jawed remarks about how goddamn pretty it is.”
Songs on Ambulance unfold slowly, without a traditional verse/chorus structure, spinning gauzy webs of shimmering mystery with their own inimitable dynamic of sinuous, swirling guitars; rich, ambient bass lines; crisp percussion and restrained, church-like, keyboard textures. They brim over with tension and more implied release than actual relief. “An ambulance picks up the wounded,” Gunrup says. “It does not mean “ambulance” in the common sense. Everybody needs a bit of “ambulance” now and then.”
Gunrup, the band’s lead singer, songwriter and one of three main guitarists, has been playing music all his life. He’s a serious musician with a self-effacing demeanor who is known for his reluctance to talk about his process, preferring to let the music speak for itself. He refuses to take part in the promotion of the band, never reveals the lyrics, which are often an impenetrable jumble in the mix, and expresses little satisfaction with any of the music he’s recorded.
The Amazing came together a few years after Gunrup’s former group, Granada [a renowned Scandinavian pop duo w/ his ex-wife], broke up and he asked Dungen’s guitarist and former drummer (Reine Fiske and Fredrik Björling) to join him onstage. After a few personal shifts, the line-up settled down with Fiske on guitar; Fredrik Swahn on guitar and keys; bass player Alexis Benson and drummer Moussa Fadera. The band’s previous four records have garnered a loyal following & critical acclaim, landing them on Letterman and on a world tour with Tame Impala.
While Picture You was bright, exploding outward to explore the limits of experience, this next instalment, Ambulance, is more intimate, imploding inward to reconnoitre the uncharted distances that exist between us, even in life’s most intimate moments.
3. Blair Drager
6. Through City Lights
7. Moments Like These
8. Perfect Day For Shrimp