Ambitions – Stranger


Artist

Album

Stranger

Label

Bridge 9

Year

2007

Genre

For Fans Of

With Honour – Crime In Stereo – Dag Nasty

Summary

From the ashes of With Honor…

Rating

88 / 100
After a slew of successful releases and a series of high profile tours, the Connecticut based With Honor called it quits. Rather than lamenting what could have been, brothers Jay and Jeff Aust (as well as John Ross) formed Ambitions, a band that would allow them to blend their more immediate hardcore influences with the sounds that guided them through their youth.  

With three seven inches and an EP to their name, Ambitions have finally unleashed a full length record and the wait has well and truly been worth it. Armed with a pair of guitarists who are more interested in quality song writing than slapping together “tough riffs, the group have written an album’s worth of catchy and melodic punk rock, one that should see Ambitions become one of the most talked about bands of 2008 (if there’s any justice in the world).

After the brief introduction of “The Habit Of Despair…” we are given “The Illusion”, a song that seamlessly blends break neck verses and gang vocals with sing a long choruses and guitar breaks that would have Boysetsfire nodding in approval. On an album which doesn’t have a bad track, “Sinking” took the honours of being used as the first single, an achievement in itself when you take into account the quality and the consistency of the material on display, while the rolling drum fills and the stop-start guitar work provides the perfect platform for Jay to make the most of his unorthodox vocal delivery.  

To the un-trained ear punk and hardcore can come across as a one dimensional musical format, but the dynamics of “Fact Remains” have proved that theory to be redundant as the layered guitars and tempo changes have successfully managed to add a unique to an already impressive sound. The minute long blast that is “Calamity” is a polar opposite to the groove based “Rapid Succession” proving that Ambitions have a firm grasp on all the elements of their chosen genre.  

If these guys were around in the mid nineties then “Overstep” would have had the band competing with Pennywise and NoFX for airtime and just in case you think “Postscript” is another straight forward slab of punk rock, the musical variations that are littered throughout the song are proof that Ambitions are a step ahead of many of their peers in the song writing department.

The record’s title track is an almost moody instrumental that is a stark contrast to the bass heavy “Losing Control”, which is closely followed by the driving rhythms of “Culmination”, a song which doesn’t need to move at a quick pace to make its point. 

Conclusion

In a day and age where punk and hardcore bands are a dime a dozen it’s refreshing to hear a group who know how to pen a memorable tune. Get on the bandwagon while there’s still room… you can thank me later.

Tracklisting

The Habit Of Despair Is Worse Than Despair Itself

The Illusion

Sinking

Fact Remains

Calamity

Rapid Succession

Overstep

Postscript

Stranger

Losing Control

Culmination (Of My Life’s Wor

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