Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MP3 Review: Ultra Material "EP"

[$10 AUD // Edition of 40 // https://ultramaterial.bandcamp.com/album/ep]

It's Dylan, you know the drill.   Song-By-Song-Review.  #SBSR

<1> "Crash" -  Drums and keys immediately come in together.   The vocals come out now as well and it's somewhere between a pumped up Schatzi and Savage Sister for me.   Dreampop/synthpop definitely do come to mind and there are also those whispery vocals that I love so much and often hear in other favorite artists of mine.   The keys kind of come through in slower tones but the drums are going so fast it's strange to think about them being together yet it just somehow works so well.   It's almost pop in a Neon Trees way also.   It takes a brief stop then starts back up again as if it is on one long loop, though there are different words and sounds coming through at various times.   If this is live drumming and not a drum machine I am very impressed by the way it seems to be keeping its own steady pace here.   It also has a slight element of "Pretty in Pink", though obviously running quite faster.

<2> "Maze" -  The drums bring on something a bit darker sounding here.   it still sounds like synthpop but the vocals are also darker in their nature.  The sound of it just doesn't project happy to me, though now it has switched to something a bit calmer, more uplifting.    Some definite Cranberries and Sarah McLaughlin in this song, which isn't bad because it's coming out with these other amazing sounds that put this as some kind of synthpop/dreampop combo.   Could it be dreamy synthpop?  Can I call this in that genre?  DSP?  It's really getting distorted now and just blaring it out-- I love it.   There are also a lot of vocal sounds in here, in the sense that they seem to be singing but not always words.

<3> "Pleased to meet you" - Seeing right away that this song is close to seven minutes has me thinking it's going to be the ballad.   The first sound is guitar notes- which almost resemble bass- and they're in a slower pattern like Weezer's "Only In Dreams", but then the drums come in rapid fire again.   Heavily distorted guitars come in and now a guy is singing here.   This has the sound of something in the shoegaze genre just because of how filled with distortion the songs are and they're at that slower, crawling pace aside from what the drums themselves are thinking.   The drums always seem to be at their own tempo, but they never seem out of place.   This is definitely something I could expect to hear on a Saint Marie Records release and perhaps that label should take notice of Ultra Material because this is just some quality music on this EP here.  It's little drum rolls like trill, lost in a sea of distortion like the second album from Filter or maybe something like The Flys.   It is a little bit trippy but I don't know if I'd call it psychedelic.    Based on the song titled I was thinking of the Rolling Stones and thankfully this doesn't really sound anything like them but it much, much better.   It's a near seven minute mini-album and I just can't get enough of it because this is the type of music I listen to most these days-- I believe the proper tag for it is "good".    It's slowing down now near the five minute mark, but then is slowly building back up as well.  It almost feels like this should be the long journey home type of anthem and as such it should be the last song- as the drums come through and the music makes me think of math rock or even something like Pyramids- but the fact that there is one more song after this seems more fitting because I think this was a hard fought battle but I do not buy it as being the end.

<4> "Tide" - A ringing into guitar notes and it sounds like a cross between The Cure and Flock of Seagulls.   The drums are still coming through in faster loops than most the rest of the music and the synth distortion just builds into something which sounds magical.   Back to the female vocals and this reminds me a bit more of the first song than the second.   It's growing to something really heavy here, but in that -gaze way not really elements of metal or anything.    It remains beautiful and just so perfectly crafted.   I haven't really got a strong comparison for this song because it has slight elements of some bands I've heard before but there's just something else in here that I cannot describe and is unlike anything I've ever quite heard before.   This was definitely the song to go out on.   Wow.

This is my second SBSR of recent memory that was for a cassette from Australia and much like the Abigail & Daisy one before this I don't know how the songs would appear on a cassette.    While this time there is an even number of songs, the fact that the third song is twice the length of most of the others just doesn't make it a matter of how many songs there are so much as their lengths and the length on a whole.   While it wouldn't be a bad idea to split this EP into two, the problem then would be a lot of dead air on Side A to account for the much longer Side B.    So as with Abigail & Daisy I would just want to hear all of these songs in a row on one side.

For that reason, a cassette of this isn't mandatory although I am certain it will sound just as good on cassette as anything else because these are just amazing songs.   As it stands right now the cassette is going for $10 AUD and the download is half that price, but if you're in a situation like me (Where it would cost more to ship the cassette than for the cassette itself) then perhaps if you should only purchase the digital files do so with a little bit more than their asking price.

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