Countless musicians leave their hometowns in search of like-minded souls. Many travel to L.A. where it's warm with palm trees and plenty of sand and surf. But the greater L.A. area has a sense of unreality to it, thanks in no small part to the influence of Hollywood and Disneyland. On the other hand, New York City has brutally cold winters and stiflingly hot summers. The place is over built but still possesses numerous interesting nooks and crannies. The place is gritty, but more importantly, it's real. That's why people like Congleton, who hailed from Eugene, OR, and Belfast born Beckett made the trek to the Big Apple.
Ambulance LTD started in '00. Congleton and Beckett soon joined. When original members left, the two became the de facto leaders. Beckett's dad, also a drummer, once backed Tom Jones, but the younger Beckett, like Lysaght, had extensive Jazz training with Beckett getting deeply involved in the NY Jazz scene. But in Ambulance LTD those Jazz influences were tangential.
As often happens in the music business the biggest break comes at the lowest point. Playing Brownies (a now defunct NY club) the group performed to a nearly empty house. Groups on the rise have sold out "word-of-mouth" shows that lure record people. Ambulance LTD didn't have that. Maybe it was time to pull the plug? But in the end, it only takes one, especially if that one has some clout. Among the chosen few at the Brownies gig was an A&R rep with TVT Records. Ambulance LTD got signed with an EP out in late '03 and their full-length, self-titled debut released in April of '04.
2003 Ambulance LTD
2006 New English )
Ambulance LTD's mode of operation is a rhythm guitar rolling through chords as Congleton emotes. The approach, somewhat reminiscent of the early Beatles, has a casual charm and naturalness, especially on the uptempo "Heavy Lifting" and "Primitive (The Way I Love You"), the set's premier track. While "Michigan" is pure pop/Rock, the album has a darker, more compelling edge to it due to the extensive use of minor chords and Congleton's textured lyrics.