First the Felix Culpa, now Ammi. I don’t know what’s in the water up there by Common Cloud Records, but it’s causing people to churn out some ridiculously good indie music. Both of the aforementioned bands have not only had disarmingly good albums, they’ve disarmingly good debut albums. Once I can take for a fluke, but two? That’s pretty crazy.
In contrast to The Felix Culpa’s wild emo landscapes, Ammi takes a solid stab at indie rock with their EP Laodicea. The album is an indie-rock purist’s dream- traveling through all schools of indie rock without ever grabbing influence from any other style of music. There are slow, melancholy dirges (“Born”, which has a surprisingly snappy drum beat for a slow song); there are straight-up rock tracks like the invigorating “Faux”; there are dreamy interludes (“Greetings, Etc”, “Easy Listening”); and finally, there are epic, climactic barnburners (“The Nature of Apathy”, “So Close”).
The barnburners are, of course, the stand-outs here. “The Nature of Apathy” opens with a unique, sparse, dissonant guitar line that explodes into a clanging, punchy section, which drops back to the dissonant guitars, augmented by a tinny bell kit. Then, right when it seems that slow is the way to go, they break out into a wiry technical section with interweaving drum and guitar rhythms. That section cuts, and the singer (who sings excellently) breaks out into screams, which are done perfectly. He doesn’t overscream, or fake-scream; these perfectly-timed, well-placed screams do nothing but enhance the song, which then fades away after a few seconds of intense passion.
And while not all of their songs are that complex, they’re all immaculately planned and performed. The vocals (which I alluded to earlier) are well done throughout, as they are unique without being inaccessible. After hearing this album, I’m pretty sure I could pick out the Ammi vocalist in any song he sings.
Overall, Ammi’s got the indie-rock thing down. They play with passion, with creativity, and with genuinely exciting material. It also helps that the production is immaculate (who IS that guy turning the knobs on this?), and the art is beautiful (A member of Ammi did that too). Ammi is the next big indie-rock darling, if they can get promoted right. They’re just too good to pass up on.