I sat down for the first time in a while and reviewed an album – tonight’s selection was their self-titled debut LP – Ultimate Painting. 10 tracks of pure modern day acid trip, it took me on a hazy slow boat journey through my past and into my future.
The opening track is the name of their LP – and the name of the LP is the name of the band: Ultimate Painting. The jangly guitar and vibe reminds me of a morning where you wake up with no aches, no hangover, completely rested and on your own terms. It’s a refreshing and distantly familiar sound. The band gives off an attitude of not taking themselves too seriously, but serious enough to record this and get it into your ears. I hope they keep that quality – bands like MGMT and Foster The People started to tank after they took themselves too seriously. Ultimate Painting – don’t take yourselves too seriously, ever.
The majority of the lyrics seem to be pulled from daily relationships, personal follies and mutual memories from the band. At times the lyrics slur together due to the filters on them, but it’s a niche of it’s own. The entire album is lo-fi, but has modern day production touches which pull it together very well when needed. The flow of each track comes almost effortlessly. They’re riding on a wave of their own smartly amplified instruments that carry them by your window and you can’t help but follow for a few blocks to see where it goes. It reminded me of The Mae Shi and how I could listen to their albums on repeat – the melodies are all earworms, but without any sharp edge to etch them into your mind, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. This album could slip in/out of your life for years and you’ll never mind stumbling upon it once you do. A band like this would’ve killed in the 70’s, I hope they maintain their Hype Machine buzz and get on the festival circuit – they must gel nicely live.
To almost a fault, most of the tracks do sounds the same – but the sound is good. They blend together, but the track “Jane” did have an impression on me. Good and mysterious lyrics, with almost tribal rain dance drum backing to it. They are more energetic, but could easily be the UK’s answer to the call of Tame Impala. This is the type of record I’d hope a future-child stumbles upon as he rifles through a vintage MP3 shop or whatever they’ll have in 2050. I’m glad it came through my inbox.
OVERALL: 8 out of 10
Quick look: Modern day acid day-trip
Sounds like: Dr. Dog, Bad Books, Generationals, Buddy Holly, old Weezer
Review by Justin Cornwall