Ultraspank - Ultraspank.

Now, if I’m true to form and the last few issues of Yaz, this review runs something like. “Another bloody American band, Korn yazzza yazzza yazza, generic, blah di blah, uninspiring, System of a Down do it so much better, support UK bands.” But see, I’m a hypocrite, and more importantly but more fortunate, is that music isn’t so black and white. It means different things and inspires different reactions. From band to band, album to album, song to song and gig to gig. Well it does for me, and I hope it does for you. That all means that I can criticise stuff in a genre I like, not just accept everything blindly, and every once in a while, when I’m get a bit despondent about the direction of a genre, get the pleasantness of listening to something that appeals to me. And this is such an album. Now I know it’s been available a long time, indeed they’re already working on a new album, but it’s been like 15 or 16 quid. And if you think I’m paying that, then you can find the highest vantage point in your town and hurl yourself from it with reckless abandon. But RockBox in Surrey were selling it for 12 quid, so an investment was made. Oh yeah, the System bit still applies, as does the support UK bands. Hey, I like to have some consistency.

Actually to play them in that ballpark that I’ve just done is a bit unfair. Sure, there are tinges in there, but it stands on it’s own two feet in a manner that certain other bands haven’t really seemed to do recently. So, what we have is 11 tracks of music which is “new metal” but thankfully, although the obvious references are there, the music transcends them, with more dynamics and at times a more fulud sound than the usual stop start predicability. And in vocalist Pete Murray, they have a man who can also bring to mind the atmospherics of Tool. It’s kind of all summed up by opening track, 5 (after the scream that is No, Man My Hands Are Dirty) with its string section replicating keyboards amidst the downtuned guitars. The obvious references (K & D) rear their heard on Butter. But that Tool feeling arises again in the middle of Slip, but it’s the middle of the album with Suck and the dark, brooding electronica led Wrapped that is the highlight of the album. After that, it’s a bit of a struggle, albeit a valiant one, to maintain the standard, but Sponge does come close, and Worn has a great telephone message at the end.

A promising start, far better than I anticipated. Course the name is too close to Spineshank really for comfort.

Available on Sony Records