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By: Ginny Yang

The debut effort from Ambulette chronicles the rise and fall of modern relationships with a mix of bedroom vocals and urgent instrumentals. The Lottery EP, named after a Shirley Jackson short story about fate and death, is packed with glowering atmospherics, surging guitars, and frontwoman Maura Davis’s seductive delivery that’s reminiscent of PJ Harvey. Like Massive Attack and Morcheeba, the moody set is driven more by desire than angst. “It’s easy to run away or else I’ll fall into you,” Davis sings in the swelling chorus of “Rush.” The five-track disc is capped off with a cover of the Jacques Brel-penned tune, “If You Go Away,” confirming the offering comes from the heart of a hopeless romantic. In the slow-burning number, Davis bids farewell to a partner and wonders, “What good is love without loving you?”

The four-piece set was bred from a cross-country collaboration during the summer of 2004. The classically-trained Davis began sending out home-recorded tapes from her native Richmond, Virginia, to bassist Stephen Howard and drummer Ryan Raspsys, who were based in Chicago. After tapping guitarist Matt Clark for the lineup, Ambulette recorded The Lottery, their first disc for Astralwerks. Yet the ensemble has brought extensive experience to the long-in-the-works release, with previous stints in Denali, Pinebender, Euphone, and Joan of Arc among the members’ list of credits. “Do you like what you see?” Davis asks in album opener “I’ve Got More.” With their latest compilation of soul-stirring tracks, the resounding answer is clear. Ambulette tour dates:

3/11, Chicago, IL (The Hideout) 3/12, Urbana, IL (Canopy Club)3/13, Columbia, MO (Mojo’s)3/14, Memphis, TN (Hi-Tone)3/16, Austin, TX (Beauty Bar — SXSW)3/17, Austin, TX (Red 7 — SXSW)3/19, Las Cruces, NM (The Bean)3/20, Albuquerque, NM (Launchpad)3/21, Phoenix, AZ (Modified)3/22, Tucson, AZ (Solar Gallery)

Ambulette official site