The Upshot: Dissonance and melody a la ‘90s alt.rock from the Kentucky combo—served up on vinyl, to boot.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Kentucky’s Ampline hearkens back to the glory days of the ‘90s alt.rock that didn’t hit the radio – loud, jagged, freely mixing dissonance and melody, flying the guitar flag high. Passion Relapse, the trio’s third album, easily finds that midpoint between catchy and chaotic. Songs like “Captions” and “Charm Offensive” use chord progressions that sound comforting at first, but don’t resolve quite how you think they should, while the riffs keep the propulsion roiling. Plainspoken vocals prevent any slides into noisy emo territory, while a sense of self-compression keeps the tracks from boiling over the sides of the band’s pot. “Low Light” and the title track manage a thrilling level of intensity without going into unhinged overdrive. There’s a sense of tight control that elevates Ampline out of the ‘90s revivalist ghetto and puts them on the path to distinction.
DOWNLOAD: “Passion Relapse,” “Captions,” “Charm Offensive”