This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Amberman. The review was written by Dave Sugden in 2001.
Amberman's five-track CD comes in a very well presented package with an equally well-designed CD cover; on the inside there is the message: "this is the eagerly anticipated first demo". Unfortunately, the design covers for some well-played but not very capturing music.
The general feel throughout the CD is melancholy. Even when Amberman are trying to play an upbeat vintage indie song - for example, "Sundown" and "Deadwood", which are guitar music circa The Smiths or Wedding Present era - they still get dragged down through Alex's vocals into telling a story of gloom. Perhaps this is intentional, perhaps not. It's certainly not a bad thing to want to do, so long as it's pulled off.
Opening up the CD is the arpeggio-driven "Can't Speak (let alone sing your name)" with its downtrodden vocals and a story of misery - "I've been rehearsing all day, All these words I've got to say, But I've just drunk my mind away". However, in the end, it did little for me.
What Amberman are trying to do is all well and good, and it's about time a local band tried to write something that got people into feeling their music again - rather than just bouncing happy upbeat tunes off them. On the other hand it's a hard genre to do very well. I mean, if you're going to listen to a band doing gut-wrenching stuff then they've got be perfect (e.g. "Everybody Hurts"). Either that, or you tend not to want to listen at all - it's a fine line that Amberman look to be on the wrong side of at the moment. Give it time.