Ultimate Painting - Dusk
The duo of Jack Cooper and James Hoare have shown no signs of letting up as they are back with their third album in as many years, following on from their self titled 2014 debut and 2015’s Green Lanes. Taking a break from their day jobs as co-frontmen of Mazes and Veronica Falls respectively, and with former S.C.U.M. member Melissa Rigby joining on the revolving rhythm duties, Dusk cannot be accused of being a complex or layered rock album.
Recorded at Hoare’s North London home and less guitar heavy than their previous work thanks to the purchase of a Wurlitzer organ in homage to Hoare and Cooper’s shared love of Portishead, Dusk’s stripped back approach draws from the well of 60s folk/psychedelia bands. Highlights include the financial woes of ‘Bills’, the organ and piano heavy ‘Lead The Way’ evoking an autumn afternoon stroll, the Yo La Tengo sound of ‘Silhouetted Shimmering’, and ‘Monday Morning Somewhere’ which in other hands could have been a riotous 60s psych-rock stomper but in Ultimate Painting’s hands is delightfully understated.
Understated is the key word for Dusk, but not to its detriment. Each track is exactly as it needs to be stripping itself of the unnecessary flab of some indie releases of late, bringing together the deceptively simple rhythms and melodies with the dual vocals of Hoare and Cooper bringing to mind the equally restrained Elliott Smith. The overriding feeling of the album is one of nostalgia, not for a specific era or even band, but one of new music retaining a vibe and feeling. The self confessed music geeks have cited a smorgasboard of influences from Dr Dre to Bossanova, while this doesn’t have an impact on the sound of the music, it does on the approach to the music making process. In short, a contradiction of an album - sparse yet dense, different yet familiar. As they say, sometimes less is more.