Album Reviews

Eric Ambel


Artist:     Eric Ambel

Album:     Lakeside

Label:     Lakeside Lounge Records

Release Date:     04/01/2016


Roscoe’s first album in way too long is a loose-limbed, minimalist, rock ‘n roll affair, a sure-fire continuation of the raw approach he’s taken over the decades. From the punk fueled Dirty Dogs, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the great, ultimately influential American band you may not have heard – the Del Lords – the Yahoos, and Steve Earle and the Dukes, Ambel’s true grit riffs, rhythms and leads (not to mention production, i.e.: Nils Lofgren, Marshall Crenshaw, among many) have kept his cult/roots admirer’s playlists buzzing.

Before you get any ideas that our retro rocker has abandoned NYC for the country life (Oh God, would that be a crushing, demoralizing, disappointment and defeat) Lakeside memorializes the Lakeside Lounge. The rowdy East Side club Ambel co-owned from ’96 – ’12 before NY became the festering spawning grounds of the new techno/finance elites focused only on world enslavement.

With fellow Village eccentric and ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers co-founder Jimbo Malthus jamming in the studio and at the console, Lakeside blows the doors down with Del Lord sidekick Scott Kempner’s swaggering”Here Comes My Love,” and moves quickly into the stoked and crackling “Hey Mr. DJ” (“Crank the drums / Crank the bass / Crank that shit all over the place.”) “Don’t Shake Me Down” and “Buyback Blues” are two haunted Neil Young and Crazy Horse throwbacks circa Tonight’s The Night while the Gillian Welch/David Rawlings standard “Look At Miss Ohio” (“She wants to do right but not right now”) gets a late night groove/hang workout. As you can tell, Ambel and cohorts – Malthus, bassist Keith Christopher and drummer Phil Cimino -have loads of fun on Lakeside, a fitting tribute to the club and Ambel’s clear, purist vision of rock ‘n roll in the face of the barbarians at the gate.

– Mike Jurkovic

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