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CD Review: Son Ambulance 'Someone Else's Deja Vu'

Published: July 18, 2008
(Saddle Creek)

Sometime during its three-year hiatus from recording, Son Ambulance lost the comma that used to reside between its first and last name and a few of the passengers that made 2004's "Key” such an enjoyable ride. But singer and chief songwriter Joseph Knapp is still at the wheel, and he hasn't misplaced his creative bearings, guiding the listener on a frayed-nerve-healing journey through the dream-pop past.

Members of fellow Nebraskan bands The Faint and Tilly and the Wall are along for the ride on Knapp's aptly named third full-length album, "Someone Else's Deja Vu,” revisiting a steamy '60s samba style of rocking reminiscent of Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 on "The Girl From New York City,” mixing the trippy instrumentation of early-'70s Pink Floyd with the "feeling groovy” brightness of Harper's Bizarre circa the Summer of Love on "Legend of Lizeth,” and recalling the clear, emotionally fragile harmonics of Simon and Garfunkel on such wistful ballad beauties as "Yesterday Morning,” "Awakening” and the lushly orchestrated title cut. Then there's the reverberating psychedelic electricity of "The Renegade” inducing flower-power San Francisco nostalgia.

Yet, with a little help from frequent collaborator Jeffrey Koster and a few Omaha friends, former Bright Eyes supporting player Knapp, aka Son Ambulance, crafts a unique and intriguing pastoral soundscape worthy of exploration on some lazy Sunday afternoon.

— Gene Triplett


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