Ultra Dolphins "Mar" CDPosted on Tuesday, December 12th, 2006 @ 11:38am » permalink
Having not expected to dig the Ultra Dolphins when I encountered their last CD release, I was pleasantly surprised, though ultimately undecided. Thankfully "Mar", their first full-length outing (still via Robotic Empire), sees the group continuing to develop their brand of caustic and frenetic yet rhythmic and angular material with a growing sense of dynamics – be it the increased use of subtle melody or unusually memorable and energetic bursts, or even oddball experimentation that doesn't necessarily alienate the listener. It's a weird set of tunes at times, but the overall vibe of the songwriting has improved quite a bit in my opinion, and wins me over in the long run. Another dry recording excellently benefits the natural vibe of the band's delivery by letting the basslines pound through the center of the mix while spastic percussion, jangly guitars, and perfectly suited vocals fill things out. There's a stripped down rawness to it that totally fits, and I love the aesthetic of the production in relation to the tonality of the music itself. The packaging is killer, too. The disc is housed in a matte chipboard digipack that folds out from both sides – one to hold the disc, and one to hold the booklet. All of the printing is done entirely in dark brown and cream-colored inks, with the booklet on matte stock that's a little "yellower" than the digipack itself. Great stuff. There's a lot to be heard within this compact half-hour, including a DC/Dischord sort of thing, some Chicago-ish "noise rock", plus an Amphetamine Reptile sense of acerbity, among numerous other influences… so you've gotta respect their progression to date.
Pick it up straight from the label's online store if you're down, and vinyl fanatics note that this one's available on a few different colored slabs to boot: