Ulrika Spacek (the name may or may not be a conscious echo of John Weise’ Sissy Spacek project) are a rock band who tilt towards the experimental: lots of fuzz hypnosis. The Album Paranoia is their debut record, bursting with excitement and promise. CD or (white) vinyl LP on the Tough Love label.
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It’s a brave new world we live in when I’m reviewing a record off of an NME stream, but here we are -- I’m pretty sure Chris Moyles orchestrated this in collaboration with Windows 10. Ulrika Spacek are sugar free psychedelic merchants from London, and if their upcoming tour with Sunflower Bean isn’t enough of a clue, here’s the reveal: this is clean-as-a-whistle rock music that unwinds at a rhythmically stupefying pace (you’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting, until you just slot into their universe) before the pop bit of the song reveals itself. Ah, the pop bit: not free of wahs, not able to shake free of the bass groove, what you get is a hook that glides along the clouds and hopes you’ll crank your neck upwards for long enough.
That’s “I Don’t Know”, a lovely if forgetful little slice of music, but there’s more coastin’ from this band to come. “Porcelain” sounds like Deerhunter caught between ‘Cryptograms’ and ‘Microcastle’, with treated vocals and an absolutely gorgeous guitar melody punctured with jittering fuzz -- all mere sidequests to the desperate, high-pitched vocal hook that opens the song like two palms opening outward to reveal an adorable tiny baby pet.
I love the way this record breathes: the intro that patiently opens “Circa 1954” gives the feeling that the rest of the song is a gust of wind forcing its way onto the landscape, the synth and drum-beat sounding somehow partially detached from the rest of the song. It’s gorgeous. Again, the band sound like Deerhunter on “Strawberry Glue”, where they match anxiety with the most streamlined guitar rock you’ll hear this year -- there’s desperation in its sound, but how, exactly? It jangles.
This is the kind of record you get swept up in: every chord provides another burst of energy, every riff drives along another nerve in your brain. Also, distortion is good. Get past that feint of an opener and listen to all of these songs: they’re epic and chill and woozy and thinking clearly.
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- The Album Paranoia by Ulrika Spacek
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