Son Ambulance exploded onto the scene earlier this year by appearing opposite Bright Eyes on the split release Oh Holy Fools - The Music of Son Ambulance and Bright Eyes.
Joe Knapp and company brought their youthful and refreshing take on songwriting to that release, and continue in similiar fashion with their debut full-length Euphemystic. Joe's positive outlook and childlike optimism is most apparent in the playfulness of "I'll Promise You Will Never Grow Old", yet still noticable in the spanish/bossanova influenced "Maria in Motion", the lushly orchestrated "Book Laid on its Binding", and in the Beach Boys-esque harmonies of "An Instant Birth".
This eclectic songwriting style shows many influences, but the subtle underlying vibe of a 70's piano man songwriter prevails on the multi-layered keyboard-driven tracks, as well as the stripped down voice and piano songs.
Joe is backed by the minimilistic techniques of bassist Robert Little, drummer Jeff Koster, and keyboardist Jeff Tafolla.
I was born and I died. Happened right before your eyes, and you still wanted something more than silence out of me. I was hiding. I've been lying sick in bed and trying. Now it's too late for perfection. You won't see my face again. Last night I was struck paralyzed. With blood all lost yet imprisoned inside. A voice in the choir blending in. What's the point of singing these old standards again? Just keep circulating. I was touching my green lover when her roots broke from the stem. She is moving out her parents' house and never returning. So I asked her for a signal that she love me for sure, and she spelled it out in letter blocks and placed it right there in my hand. Then she kidnapped and reminded me of all the grief I had caused. Like time you can't stall now it's punishing us all. Midnight stung asleep in a web with a dream of escaping start new in the morning. Yellow leaves strung from trees bend and snap and conceive. Are you happy? All these sights and sounds go unrecorded except a door crashing now in its frame and an egg falling now in a dark, filthy hallway. In a bleak, helpless sky I saw the sunrise. And I watched that little baby raise his hand to throw a snowball, saying I must kill my father so that sorrow can end. Then he crawled back in the water for a breath that he took and stretched, 'cause every time you discover is like being born again. Looking through some color pictures, I never felt so much joy as when I reach an understanding.
Track Name: An Instant Birth
It's a morning evacuation. Being squeezed up between two oceans. Sirens are seducing me awake. An emergency going on. There's an emergency going on. Let's get gone before I went wrong right here. I caught on to an instant burst. Nobody else was around when it happened. So what inspired you tonight? Is the closest thing to real life in a sunk cave behind your eyes? An emergency going on. There is an emergency happening. When you're not listening. I'm not really here. I caught on to an instant burst. In the morning make some coffee and read your newspaper section and tell me what's going on. When you go to work and I go to school, do you feel the way I do? It 's your heartbeat. I 'm listening too.
Track Name: Seven Days
At that moment, connection, ocean, sand to beach. Underneath the eyes of a person you meet. Hides a blink of influence. The time you share. A soft, subtle smile, its impact unaware. Gone in a flash in passerby fashion. Strangers' understanding in brief interaction. Guards go down, the feelings let flow. Dying while we grow is as far as it goes.
All along what did you need? Seven days if you're with me. If you get scared and need to lay low and put on your shades, I would understand. If you can learn to trust me again, our love can heal and live forever.
Track Name: A Book Laid On Its Binding
Our lives twist like woven threads on an endless loom of time. We will make our quilt that is both lovely and warm. So when you're shivering dejection, I am unwilling to let vapors rise from my brow. We'll stare out on the horizon. That moment where we end. The ocean and sky seem colorless. In times that you forget me. I will find. I always have. My heart belonged to paper. Like songs were going to save me, but the characters could not stand for me. The daughter of a mapmaker and a sea-worn fisherman tasted the salt of the harbor where they wept. This book laid on its binding. My pages toss in the wind. Dreams race across my ceiling like fevers through my head. As I lay down on my back.
Track Name: Maria In Motion
Maria, Maria, Maria. You look so fine to me. Your skin is brown like caramell. All sprawled out in the moonlight. In lilac or lavender twilight would you still be clothed in fog? She used to kneel and beg to hold me like a marionette. But you're not a mother. You're a dancer. With no strings attached. Maria, Maria, Maria. She's just a child who asks me to make her a woman, but I am not the one who pays for her clothes and her schooling, and cares for her. And will she take care of me when she herself is strong? Oh! I am with child. My skin has turned pale. So I am begging you. Please, Joe. I will honor your request and never travel to Mexico and see silver objects there under a pale moon. But from that sterile palette will I know how to love her? I am in love with learning the knowledge that I am safe. So I will teach you something called Inmovil. Look up there in the sky, my love. A stationery bird so still. So still I need to describe you with pictures Inmovil. Mira al cielo mi amor. Un ave inmovil. Mira al cielo mi amor. Un ave inmovil. Maria, Maria, Maria. Ah, she's just a child who asks me to make her a woman, but I am not the one who payed for her clothes and her schooling, and cares for her. And will she take care of me when she herself is strong? I see you in your window sometimes, watching the swirling clouds. I am on a lazy river where it never rains. But I think I may write you sometimes via internet. And no matter what the hackers find, they can't change what I have said.
Track Name: The Anonymous
Oh! The anonymous author of days will pass by you like a stranger in the waves. But he is secretly impressed at your failure to try. Oh yeah. Our arms are shivering branches. When they dance it's a cool, cool breeze. But I must turn my step before I get into a trap. 'cause you know I love being near you. But I can't hold my breath long enough, and still be where you dream. I'm always ticking and talking but the woman she needs her sleep. I don't regret the times that we spent. Paper boys come abrupt and break the news to men. Pour blessings on the child. Wasn't that your intention? I promise you. I promise you I wont leave you. Oh, no, no, no. I will be here, here, here. Like a bow on a string.
Track Name: Like A Friend
I remember how we used to talk. Like swallows in an unborn child's throat. When you told me the warm sea would shield me and drown my enemies in salt. Like a friend I met just a second ago. I know I am going to love him. How can I already know? Please don't give me any trouble because I'm pulled back like a mouse trap pin. Seems I always come so unprepared for the challenges I have to face. Now every face I pass is a fight and their eyes are jutting rock. So I need to be brave as I crawl out to sea all by myself and that's insane. But my friends will keep me afloat. When fear tries to pull me in. Yeah the fear can drag you down. But your friends will help you up. Get back up on your feet my friend. Oh, how we used to daydream in the valleys where giraffe-neck trees grew. When we went to high school. Yeah we learned a lot. How to become what we are not. And I watched this bridge here just disappear. Your parents can't carry you no more. By by by by now, you will fear noone. By by by, by now, your faith will be restored. Like a friend I met just a second ago. Everyone is thinking too much. And we laugh at ourselves, and I think I'm wrong, but I never really know.
Track Name: I Promise You'll Never Grow Old
Let's take a walk in the cool, precious night and we'll talk about the past, how we came untied. Tell me when do you feel satisfied. And did I want to fall in love? If I could pronounce her name, well, it would take years at a time to explain. And all of my years spend down by a lake where the mermaids dive and they wonder why, I wonder why, I question everything. Question everything. Now I'm gonna hush all these angry words that rain down on my mind like a hail storm. What would be the reason for cutting you down and making me feel so terrible again? What when we both could just swing in the breeze? And could you hit the dance floor with me? She can twist, and she will charge, but I'll show off like a parrot in a bird cage. Sunny day, kissing the clouds away. Friendly stranger, the air is clean. And the world is so green because you're holding hands with me. I came back to touch the ray that shone so bright in the coming year. And I hate it for ending this way. Leaving me so drunk with the laughter and the tears. I'm not going to desert you, my friend, or try to make you cold, 'cause it's old and it's cold. And it's all out of time, and the curtains are tore, and jailbirds are loosed, flying free in the morning.
Track Name: A New Dress For Maybell
My poet, my brother, the wicken child. Who wrote his verse to tame the wild. His song was terrifying true 'cause all that love had gone. The ink that sweats beneath his eyes spoke of pain where comfort lies. And I watched him pen A Perfect Sonnet even as he cried. Oh merciful love of mine. Would you be so kind? It should not hurt, but if it does. To leave this wretch behind. After the winter returned her linen gown. She asked "My lord, why am I plain?" with no fair smile and by my sword unsatisfied was slain. The crowning nymph that she would have. All bloody and bare with violet hair. It was enough to convince Maybell that she was but a maid. Oh beautiful friend of mine. Would you be so kind? It should not hurt, but if it does. To leave this wretch behind you. Oh yeah. Oh no. Oh yeah. It's all. It's all. It's all I could afford.
Track Name: Violet
His liver damaged in the wreck. The windshield shattered. All for an instant fleeting like cars from the street. Cat tops spin across the highway, and horses die in backseats. Don't blink now. I know I can't talk man, but I understand. Any way I look at him, my love you have got to come back soon. It's not fair. They choke your neck with a seatbelt that meant to help. Break it apart. Misunderstand me. Flash this evening on the sky screen. Drive to Vegas and get yourself hitched. If I live through my imperfections two glass decades and you're still angry, I don't want to be your friend anymore. We turned a wheel that raised a wall and made this living world turn red. But I'm not scared. I pulled my arms from the fence, where I leapt, Violet. Like rain