Pete Um’s new record Contempt comes to us direct from the artist, no label middle-men here. Over a full twenty-six tracks, this record is a work of odd-pop goodness, Um’s vocals murmuring over what sounds like a selection of cheap keyboards. Alternately bouncy and creepy: good times. Vinyl LP in an edition of 100.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 26 August 2015
Today: be thrifty and listen to some budget pop. Pete Um follows on from a long-standing tradition of fourtrackers and indie weirdos who grabbed whatever they could and crafted the catchiest half songs. Um does it, for the most part, on shitty keyboards, singing stoically and haphazardly over farty sounds, squeaky non-melodies and sleepy beats. It’s quite a freaky time -- twenty-six songs and none of them quite reach a conclusion.
This record’s immature abstractions and silly sound collations will be familiar to fans of the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, R. Stevie Moore and even the odd Cleaners From Venus tune; bits that should come together instead flail around each other, with bass lines often grooving their way through a totally different universe. There are often inspired moments of true pop, deliberately fucked up by a lack of tempo gatekeeping.
I think Um would make good robot dance pop a la the Pet Shop Boys if he’d been commissioned the right equipment for it, but ‘Contempt’ is a rather delightful trail through a messy history of musical smudge that started with Syd Barrett and got drilled into our brains by Robert Pollard. If Um can bring out more of the miraculous miracles this sorta-genre’s forebears are famous for, he'll be fine. Thank you for the um music, Mr. Um.
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- Contempt by Pete Um
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