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Urgent Sea
Pretty Activity Records

Discordant and subtly beautiful, Ume catches that special something that requires me to listen, necessitates my attention, as the album unfolds, painting a chaotic foundation of themes. Like a Sonic Youth with a full-time female lead vocalist, they create music by abandoning nominal conventions, and what seems like a haphazard process and throw down individual pieces that mesh into coherent amalgamations. Rightly none of this should work, but it does despite all logic - and actually works quite well. Songs vary internally, even down to the pace level, which gives each song a distinct place in the landscape of this album, and on certain songs giving the material a sense of breathe or of breathing, in and out.

Production is well-conceived giving this three-piece ample room to play around, never letting the sound go hollow, which is saying a lot. Production also varies the vocals nicely, adding male backing here, and doubling the main vocals to fill space while maintaining a clear idea of band sound. Bass is the most constant vein of the music as the drums are forced to make sense of the different rhythms presented by the all-over-the-map guitar. It is this confusion that adds the most to the material, keeping each song interesting and different from every other. From the album level, all of the changes appear sporadic or just plain epileptic, but somehow, instead of making the record rough and unbearable, the end result is a textured product full of nuance.


Track listing:

1) Wake
2) A Maze
3) Hive-Mind
4) Hurricane
5) Shake Down
6) My Sweet Time
7) Manic
8) Push Me Pull U
9) Umergency
10) Baby Xie-Xie

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