4. The Push
6. Run Wild
7. Pretend Again
8. Hurricane II
9. Dancing Blind
10. The Task
Exploring the artier and heavier sides of indie rock, post-punk and alternative rock, the power trio marries searing and soaring fretwork with indelible pop hooks, radiant choruses and Lauren’s gossamer (and sometimes guttural) vocals. Ume’s music is one of beautiful juxtapositions: the loud and the soft, the aggressive and the ethereal, buoyant melodies bursting through wall-of-noise dissonance. « Distortion-heavy jams (and the whole marriage thing) invite comparisons to Sonic Youth, but Ume do more headbanging and wailing,” Rolling Stone exclaimed while declaring them one of the 16 best unsigned acts in the country prior to their signing earlier this year. While critics will inevitably clamor for comparisons, Ume is ultimately a beast unto itself.
Formed in Houston in 2006, Ume have earned their stripes the old fashioned way, hitting the road and tearing down clubs with one incendiary concert after another. The three-piece throws themselves into every performance, whether playing a basement party or a festival and have earned a reputation for unleashing behemoth live shows. Rock icon Joan Jett, Gang Of Four’s Dave Allen and Of Montreal’s Bryan Poole all became championing fans and believers after witnessing the band’s sonic conflagration onstage. “Lauren is an enigmatic guitarist; all flailing hair, swinging arms, and wild movements,” Brooklyn Vegan proclaimed, adding: “If this band didn’t have such catchy songs, you’d probably be content just watching.”
With Phantoms, their full-length barn-burner, Ume has harnessed their carefully crafted chaos into ten tracks that captures the unhinged passion and raw catharsis of their live shows while pushing their ever-evolving sound to impressive new heights. Like a bridge between Black Sabbath and Bat For Lashes, the LP is heavy, anthemic, beautiful and mesmerizing. Heaviness and weightlessness coexist throughout, as Lauren’s beguiling vocals float atop a tidal wave of sound. “This album is filled with more hooks, heartache and harmonies than anything we have ever done,” Lauren reveals, and it is readily apparently. A newfound pop songcraft imbues the songs, balancing guitar squall and adroit technicality with sugary melodies.
The album is a stunning progression for the band as it sees them honing their dichotomous sound and exploring new vocal and musical territory. Lauren wafts her delicate voice over dexterous riffage on “Rubicon while “Destroyer” wanders through an arpeggiated post-rock dreamscape. Several tracks such as “The Push” are colored by flourishes of synth, a new addition to the band’s arsenal that adds a dramatic layer to the record. The band also advances their sound by practicing patient restraint as evidenced in the smokey Ennio Morricone-inspired album acoustic closer, “The Task.” The song features a finger-picked acoustic guitar and spaghetti-western style trumpet with Lauren’s hushed vocals, proving that Ume’s music is equally compelling whether behind a wall of noise or stripped down.