EP Review: Midnight Ambulance – Smoke and Sweets

Smoke & Sweets artwork EP - Midnight Ambulance
Credit: Ritchie Collins

The Breakdown


Scottish alternative rock duo Midnight Ambulance release their debut EP Smoke and Sweets on Friday 23 December 2022. Since forming just two years ago, they have performed across the country, supporting renowned bands such as Texas and Fatherson on their UK tours. The band are ending the year on a high after signing with Blackhall Records, releasing their debut EP (available in limited edition vinyl) and holding an EP launch gig at Edinburgh’s legendary The Caves on Friday 23 December.

The EP explores the duo’s experiences and challenges faced during and proceeding lockdown. The songs’ sequential running order follows their musical, emotional and personal journeys from the beginning of their collaboration, to their return home to Scotland after months in isolation. It begins with ‘Smoke and Sweets’, where the weight of isolation takes its toll, and ends with ‘The Well’, an emotional but optimistic finale as they rediscover the strength to leave the past behind. A unique touch is that each song from the EP will be accompanied by an animated music video made in collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art student

The EP opens with ‘Smoke and Sweets‘ a song full of power and emotion from the very outset. The stunning lead vocals of drummer Amelia are haunting and soaring. The sense of isolation and loneliness are beautifully articulated through this song. The soundscape is minimal initially, it is the vocals that take centre stage but the slow beat and occasional guitar riff only add to the overall atmosphere, until towards the very end all the power and emotion is driven onwards and louder as if crying out for a connection.

This is followed by ‘Stained Cotton‘ which is immediately lighter. There is still a sense of introspection but perhaps it is more exploratory. Don’t we have to know ourselves before we can move forward? Full of observations and again the extra-ordinary crystal clear vocals which dance through the notes.

The rhythm and pace moves up on ‘Morlich‘, as if hope is beginning to grow and there is the glimmer of the possibility of change. The combined vocal adds a depth and an additional layer. Perhaps here a connection has initially been made thus the sense of isolation is slowly fading. Midnight Ambulance formed between Paris and North Berwick in 2020. Amelia (vocals/drums) and Fraser (guitar/vocals) met over ten years ago on the Edinburgh music scene however they reconnected in 2020 and began collaborating via video call as a creative and cathartic outlet during lockdown. As ‘Morlich‘ progresses it grows in its sound, the joy of a connection completely evident.

With ‘Someone Else’s House’ there is a completely different atmosphere. The guitars are jangly and slightly chaotic and wild. The initial turmoil of living in someone else’s house is perfectly expressed here. Frantic and thunderous drums power through the track, with distorted vocals adding to the unease. Closing track ‘The Well‘ is full of emotion and passion, the story-telling is gorgeous painting a picture with its lyrics and haunting music. Not melancholy but full of hope and possibilities, recognising the challenges in any relationship. The soundscape sweeps you along and when there is an abrupt halt the vocal tugs at your gut such is its power.

This EP was recorded with Paul Winton (LaFontains, Fatherson, American Clay) at North Road Studios using vintage equipment, which gives the tracks the raw honesty and emotion that was felt when written. Midnight Ambulance sit in a genre of one. It is impossible to pigeonhole this band and on the evidence of Smokes and Sweets there can only be exciting times ahead for this talented duo.

The more information on Midnight Ambulance please check out their facebook, twitter and instagram.
The EP launch gig will be The Caves in Edinburgh 23 December 2022. For tickets please see here.
To order the EP please see here.

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