ARTIST: Ultra Material
RELEASE: Double Date
RELEASE DATE: 13th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Blackwire Records
The sound of your summer is sorted, thanks to the arrival of Ultra Material’s debut LP, Double Date. Released just as spring finally arrived in the UK, this is a big record from the Brisbane-based band – in its ambition, accomplishment and scale. It sounds fantastic – each element of this sometimes densely-layered creation is clear, reverberating in its own space. In this genre, that’s quite an achievement and it certainly help set it apart. But, it’s the quirks that really make this one stick in the parietal lobe.
The tightly-timed female incantation on opener Eraser, the tricksy riffage of Art Show (doffing my cap to drummer Matt here), the total rushing joy of Crash all signal that this is gaze on a higher plane. Drop seems to have an otherworldy choir providing the beautiful bedrock. Always avoiding the obvious, Sarah swoons through a vocal melody that veers off into minor keys here are and there. The bass starts off as the star in Summit, the centrepiece of the record. But before long, the guitars, shimmering cymbals and atmospheric synths sounds pile up like layers and layers of sparkly quartz to create a huge track, one worthy of a name referencing mountains. But that’s just the start – the tone darkens, the propulsion increases, and that vocal melody. It’s a stomach flipping combination.
We first hear a male voice on Nothing is Lost, adding an interesting new texture. Drowned in reverb, the track emanates an unspecified melancholy, but maintains momentum with a super-fuzzy lead guitar line pushing it all along. Heat takes its time to reveal itself, a hazy vision. The drums open, pounding and insistent. The guitar is floaty and spare, the delayed vocals disorientate dreamily. Pleased to Meet You (which also features on last year’s EP) is where we hear the influences of past shoegazers most powerfully. But as we’ve now come to expect, those MBV-esque sounds are slowed, warped and shaped into something else. Something Ultra Material.
Double Date is out now vinyl on Blackwire Records and digitally at www.ultramaterial.bandcamp.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.