I’ve been waiting for fucking ages to review this album, having first been contacted by the band back in April, but it’s finally available to buy, so here we go.  At the time they contacted me Ambulances were a band I had never seen on a bill anywhere in Scotland (although they are playing at the Song, by Toad night at Sneaky Pete’s on the 30th August). I had at that point never read about them on a blog and had never heard them on the radio, although that has since changed.  But when I first heard from them they were, in short, a complete mystery.

Also, they’re from Fife and are not an alt-folk/electronica band.  Given the ascendancy of Fence Records and Benbecula in those parts I thought indie bands were illegal in the Kingdom these days.

But indie this certainly is.  It has aspects of the latter half of the 80s in some moments, but for the most part I find myself thinking of that element of post-grunge which, instead of making more and more noise, went all moody and started using the long, low growl instead.  I’m being reminded of bands like Preston School of Industry quite a lot, actually, which is a good thing, in my eyes.

As an album The Future That Was is perhaps a tad long, and there are times when the sequencing seems to lose a little bit of purpose, particularly about three quarters of the way through.  I’m not sure what I personally would recommend at this point, so maybe I should shut up, but to my ears, despite the good songs, there’s a slightly wobbly aspect to some shadowy notion which I would descibe as the ‘direction of the album’ around that point – the forwards motion of the record just seems to stall a little.  That’s a pretty vague and unimportant point however, so don’t take it too seriously, I’m just nitpicking.

For a record which came so entirely out of nowhere, as far as my awareness is concerned anyway, this is really very good indeed.  I might be tempted to add a little urgency to a song here and there in future, because fourteen songs at a fairly consistently unhurried pace does get a little cloying here and there, but nevertheless I am really impressed with this record.

www.myspace.com/neenawambulances – Buy the album here too, or go to Avalanche Records on Cockburn Street, Edinburgh.

From the Song, by Toad Archives. Visit Song, by Toad for more from Matthew.