Friday, 6 January 2012

Ulterior - Wild in Wildlife

Ulterior? Ulteri-phwoar, you mean. It's preposterous that I haven't seen Ulterior before. Since HTRK knocked my socks off back in 2007 (and kept on keeping on, their recent post-Sean full-length is an inky masterpiece) and S.C.U.M. caught my eye with a live set back at Offset a few years back, I have had my eye on this whole goth revival. Fuck it, I've had to put up with people calling me a goth for years, it's about time I got something back. So how did I miss Ulterior? It's not like I never heard of them; I just never got round to them.

Anyway, last night I did, and onstage marched this gang in black (except for the keyboardist in white jeans who didn't get the memo); tall skinny guitarist with his too-big clothes pinned roughly around him, and singer who looked like the chappy from The Big Pink if you wrapped him in gaffa tape and shiny puffa cladding and made him wear leather trousers against his will. There were also some unjustifiable reflective aviators, but he carried it off because when you're wearing a pvc puffa jacket, nothing seems ludicrous in comparison. (The Italians know this.)

And it was all *SLAM SLAM SLAM* (no, NOT in a Spice Girls way) and vocals shouted into the stagesmoke and massively overstated synth drums, but it felt very industrial and brutal and empty and - key - MODERN. Something newly carved and freshly birthed, not a rehash of all the stuff that was done better by better rehashers.

I'm listening to them now on Spotify. Strange, they sound very different. It's a funny thing, when a band you like live is a completely different band that you still like for completely different reasons on record. This record is properly gothy and 80s crashdrum-laden. The vox are sung, not roared, and they have that purified quality that every singer who loves Dave Gahan tends to cultivate. It really really works because they're just harder and better than a lot of the bands that attempt this sound.

Part of me can't help but think this is the sound that White Rose Movement would have aimed for if they'd had a brain cell between them. Which is a bit mean, not to White Rose Movement (because they deserve it), but to Ulterior, because I really think they're better than comparisons to WRM suggest. But nonetheless, that's what comes to mind. It sounds like sleaze and leather jackets and tall buildings and the moon through smog and fast cars with buzzsaws for tyres. And that all sounds shittily cliched because this sound is, it's nearly 30 years old, but fuck it, if chaps like Ulterior can keep it alive and kicking, then long may the life support continue.

No comments: