Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ultimate Painting w/ EZTV, Century Palm @ The Horseshoe, Sunday

When not rockin' clubs, Hackney's outdoorsy Jack Cooper & James Hoare like to frolic in the woods.

Dusk is the third studio album from London-based duo Ultimate Painting, a ten song set that expands the group’s sound from their self-titled debut and their critically lauded sophomore effort Green Lanes. Dusk heads along the same path, albeit in a slightly different direction.

Most groups would kill to have one talented songwriter in their ranks, but Ultimate Painting benefit from having two singular voices in Jack Cooper and James Hoare. The pair’s distinctive songwriting styles began to blur a bit with Green Lanes, but on Dusk it’s hard to tell where Cooper ends & Hoare begins. Their tunes weave in & out of each other like the duo’s respective six-strings, spiraling around each other in a laconic dance. Album opener ‘Bills’ (listen below) dives head-first into a crystalline pool of jangle, furthering the duo’s rep as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past & present, the group’s recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balanced perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring & universal pop leanings. The group’s discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare’s recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like ‘Lead The Way’ or washes underneath others like ‘Monday Morning, Somewhere Central’.

Dusk was once again recorded to tape by guitarist James Hoare in his Hackney flat. The casual setting allowed the sessions & songs to unfold naturally, with the two of them accompanied by recent live drummer Melissa Rigby, who drums on the entirety of Dusk. Her skills lend a rhythmic elasticity to songs like ‘A Portrait of Jason’ and ‘I Can’t Run Anymore’, with jazzy undertones that break from the band’s 4/4 regimen. Dusk feels different and cements the group’s presence in the modern world of guitar pop. Listen to Ultimate Painting's recent KEXP session following a clip from their Live At Third Man Records LP (issued back in May) and ‘Bills’ from Dusk.

RIYL: Luna, Yo La Tengo, Real Estate, The Verlaines, Velvet Underground, Television

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