Ultrasound / Play For Today
Ultrasound's comeback is "tragically delicious" according to Rachel Rowling, but how so?
Play For Today
Most Ultrasound reviews start by blabbing on about their amazing-but-doomed run on the indie zeitgeist of the millenium. Not this one! Let's just assume you already know how epically great and glam they were, and get on with it.
The good news is 'Play For Today' is the sound of a band who still know how to strip off naked - emotionally - and show you all the crushing romance and underdog-doom they’ve been feeling lately. How easy it would have been for them to grow a pair of sunglasses and cultivate cool, huh? Thank god they didn’t.
Here are the highlights. 'Welfare State' is a roaring beast of an attack on the Tories, whose "surgical knife will cut you down to the size / of a single high rise." 'Beautiful Sadness' lives up to its title, roaring past the stereo width with punk muscle and pathos to boot – it’s the album’s timeless highlight.
'Long Way Home's Christmassy atmosphere is lent extra warmth from bassist Vanessa's reliably cosy backing vocal, while the girl herself gets to sound like a sympathetic evil princess, casting spells from atop a dark tower on 'Glitter Box'.
There are misfires: 'Deus Ex Natura' becomes overcrowded and unrefined, and 'Twins' - though it does have a lot going for it - sounds a bit like Shed Se7en. Actually, is that a bad thing? I just don't know anymore.
This is a classy comeback, and though their new songs could never be quite as anthemic as their old ones, Ultrasound are just as tragically delicious as they were in the first place.