Ultra Violent Lights - Here in Filth
Record Label: Command! Records
Release Date: Oct. 29, 2009
Attitude is a hard thing to imitate. Carrying a pronounced swagger via a recording, such as a CD or MP3 is the kind of thing that cannot be muddled or copied. It's just inherent. Oasis had it, The Strokes had it, Morrissey still has it. And like a strange amalgamation of all three comes Brooklyn's Ultra Violent Lights and their sterling full-length debut Here in Filth. The disc opens with the snappy percussion of the snarly "Skin and Bones," which has a gruff texture but is overtly melodic and boasts a huge chorus. "Spiders Eat the Flies," opens with plinky piano and an old-school garage feel that is decidedly Mancurian and somewhat reminiscent of Oasis circa Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. The song's dense drive is best summed up by vocalist Nicholas Faiella''s biting and cathartic confession, "My hand is a loaded gun and I don't like what it's done."
Showcasing their diversity the album settles down on the sleepy, mid-tempo offering "Some Kind of Season." Nocturnal, hazy and somewhat placid, "Some Kind of Season," is a welcome respite from the disc's gritty openers. The lazy verses allow the song's movement to be slithery and serpentine and few songs on the album match its sonic texture. The funk-inspired "Sleep Now," follows and the quasi-Red Hot Chilli Peppers vibe could have easily been branded filler by bands with far less talent, but on Here in Filth, "Sleep Now," feels perfectly in place and is near flawless in its execution. That sentiment is true for the acoustic title track, which has a folksy charm despite its stormy subject matter. Of all the album's verses, few are as caustic as "I'm still waiting for my skin to peel off my back and bones, again. Showing you how bad I've really been. Here in the filth." Aided by shaker, handclaps and gauzy textures, "Here in Filth," is a supple, sordid confession that's saturnine, sensitive and strong. For all the song's charms, nothing is as transcendent as the winning piano lines in the final 50 seconds.
Returning to the energy of the album's early half, "In Lieu of Pay," is a crackling, gritty blues-inspired offering, anchored by lines like "They say hands don't even shake, while you're waiting on the saints." Circling and swirly, "In Lieu of Pay," is smoky and swampy, framed by searing guitarwork and some of Faiella's best vocals on the album. With one of the album's biggest choruses, there's a chance the song could carry its weight on the radio charts.
"The Spell (NYC)" laments a failed relationship, as Faiella sings, "She said she was coming back and I believed every word. I can't say for certain, if she's a sickness or a germ." While it's a no-nonsense, straight-ahead rocker, it's not nearly as luminescent as the album's final one-two-three punch. "A Martyr in Me," is guided by a nuanced guitar line and a snappy tumult of sound that rollercoasters along with the help of a big fuzzy bass line. Somewhat reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, "A Martyr In Me," is one of the album's peaks and serves as a perfect intro to "Buried at the Bottom of Silverlake." Though its morbid title entertains portraits of murder and foul play, the song's exercise is something altogether different. Rife with energy, "Buried at the Bottom," is proof positive of this band's undeniable swagger and relentless energy. Unfortunately the disc ends with the mediocre, "Thick as Thieves," an awkward and disappointing final track and an anomaly that doesn't do the Brooklyn band justice.
Dressed up in layers of distortion is a band with limitless range, soaring melodies and a brashness that seems surefire to send them to the top. Here in Filth is accessible, original and thought-provoking and there's no reason why it should go unnoticed.