The Ampersands have released their new album titled ‘Happy To Be Here’. This album starts off with that distinctive personality that drives the base of your neck to do that one thing when you hear good music and keeps doing that until you realize you look like an asshole for doing it in a crowd full of people. If you find yourself doing that with The Ampersands and this album, find a sound bar and Bluetooth into and let them join in.
Filled with the quirkiness and vibrance that is The Ampersands, the dynamic duo that is Aaron McQuade & Jim Pace marry the words to the music and give all of you a reason to be here listening to this. And be happy about that.
About ‘Happy To Be Here’
Rarely does a name as abstract as ‘The Ampersands’ so accurately describe an act but upon exposure to duo Aaron McQuade & Jim Pace’s work, it just clicks. Every revelation of the band unearths five more layers beneath – whether a track that cycles between genres like verses or the incredible stage antics of the live shows, with The Ampersands audiences are always left with niggling hook: “and one more thing…”
The album bursts opens with lead track It’s All Been a Wash’s hypnotic guitar sure to ring in listeners’ heads far beyond the song’s 2:17 runtime. With alluring vocals, IABAW makes for a curious opening. Beginning the album with a piece on the need to move on, the track’s sonic energy hurls its audience through its infectious riffs, flirts with grunge, barbershop adjacent backing vocals, and aggressively creative spirit. The track reflects on the need to move on, whether or not you’re ready to. Perhaps ironic as it leads into the rest of the incredibly inviting album Happy to Be Here.
The song’s unique character would have it stand out on any artist’s discography but it is exactly that quality that has it fit so perfectly into The Ampersands body of work as a whole. Each song rich with twists, turns, and characters of their own, the band’s library sits at an accessible level for any listener while sonic layering beyond 30 tracks and complexity like no other gives music “aficionados” all the music they could chew on.
In their early days, the band were well known for outlandish stage antics – letting the audience choose their facial hair, overloading a tiny café gig with a huge synthesizer only to play the ‘Mortal Kombat’ theme, and covering songs by the bands they were opening for – this energy translated into the music. In part influenced by the guitar styles of John Lennon and Graham Coxon, the rhythmic overlapping of De La Soul, and the showmanship of Andy Kaufman, The Ampersands are a duo that keep audiences wondering what the hell is coming next and loving every second of it.