Ultra Dolphins - Mar
Record Label - Robotic Empire
Release Date - November 7, 2006
After Sonic Youth decided they wanted to be pretty instead of ugly (right around Murray Street) it was up in the air who would be the heir to their throne of dissonance. Although the name might not have caught on yet with the indie world (even though it’s quite a memorable one), Ultra Dolphins ought to be that group. I know that’s a huge claim, and I’m not saying I expect this band to ever have the same amount of fame and reputation that SY achieved because that was a pretty crazy fluke, but I am saying that anyone who ever appreciated an indie song for how un-musical it was ought to thank God bands like this are out there.
And ‘out there’ is a pretty good way to describe Mar, which seems to fit into no category very easily. It’s as catchy as it is harsh and unpredictable. Once you get past the wall of sound, it’s totally capable of sing-along moments if you can figure out the lyrics and fun to play along to if you can figure out the key signature or what the hell chords are happening. Both aren’t too easy.
“William’s Nightmare” is like a long lost pg.99 track and/or an actual nightmare. The guitars are scratchy and the rhythms are jagged to the point where headnodding gets pretty confusing, but the song is still rocking enough so that its worth doing. This track more than any other is a direct descendent of Daydream Nation, so take note.
The out-on-a-limb “Great Neurasthenic” is reminiscent of the experimental tracks on Dillinger Escape Plan’s Calculating Infinity – partly because of the programmed drums and piano and partly because both just show up out of left field in the middle of much heavier albums. Random tracks that break up flow and sound like somebody else wrote them usually spoil an otherwise good album, but “Great Neurasthenic” only serves to add variety and to prove there’s more than one side to these mysterious musicians, and both rule.
Speaking of which, “One, Two, Three, Four” doesn’t even kind of sound like the same band. It’s bouncy and piano driven, and if it weren’t for the “I-don’t-wanna-be-here” vocals, there’d be no continuity with the rest of the disc and you’d think your I-tunes moved on without your permission. If this were a band who gave a fuck about radio play, then this would be their single.
But they just totally are not.
This is what punk rock should be: individual, difficult, angry, and exciting. Ultra Dolphins are proof that there’s more excellent music out there than what Spin and Pitchfork tell you about, and you’ve got to get involved and find it. Or, just take my word for it. This is totally worth owning.
Recommended If You Like:
Sonic Youth, Pygmy Lush, Malady
I mean, from this one, it is obvious that you don't even have to listen to the album or understand the music at all to review an album and be on staff. It's just (track) sounds like (namedrop) rec if you like random shit.
seriously, anyone who claims old sonic youth is "unmusical" is fucking stupid.