Ultrasound: Play For Today (Fierce Panda)
It’s been a whopping 13 years since Ultrasound released their one and only platter. Thirteen years is a long time, a lot of acts have come and gone. Hell, even wars have broken and out and been solved.
Ultrasound had, if I recall vaguely, a charming debut, but one that I can’t refer to as it is in an attic the other side of the world. It had balls aplenty, but it felt like a record you could play to your own mother. One of my everlasting memories is a feature in the NME on how musicians should be allowed to remain on the dole as they were working up to something, with Andrew ‘Tiny’ Wood used as an example of someone who spent time signing on, but were ‘building’ their skills. Now the five-piece are back, but money is not the motivating factor, but a need to prove that they could have made an impact is.
It is somewhat fitting that the opening track is Welfare State, released in an era where the unemployed (whose numbers have risen largely because of the follies of bankers) are regarded as pariahs, on a level slightly below Middle Eastern bombers and child-snatchers. “We are the greasy, unwashed scum/ We are the paupers on the run/ We’ve never done a day’s work in our lives.” intones Wood, mimicking hundreds of right-wing, snooty tabloid headlines.
Gracefully, the song it an absolute belter, full of hooks, and their earmark patchwork of rock’n’roll and art-rock. Back in the late 90s, Ultrasound were ahead of their time, but 2012 is far more sympathetic to their cause. Twins is bursting with intensity, the chorus so good I feel the need to throw that sole Coldplay album in Porky’s collection into the bin, then ravish my wife’s ugly sister. Long Way Home is gloriously upbeat, as it purrs along like a Japanese car on the fastest highway in the country. These three more than mitigate for some of the lesser lights, such as Glitter Box that seems out of place on Play For Today.
Yip, the end of year best of lists are looking mighty fine, after a barren spell.