Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Single Review :: Ummagma - Rotation


Rotation/Live and Let Die

December 9 2013 (Emerald and Doreen Records)


Words: Dave Beech

Pop will eat itself, or so the time old axiom goes. And it's true; these days especially it seems we're rarely graced by anything completely original. Anything too leftfield, and an artist is dismissed as being experimental for experimental's sake, anything familiar sounding by comparisons, and it's disregarded as unoriginal. Fortunately, however, Canadian/Ukrainian duo Ummagma are managing to avoid such labels. The brainchild of Shauna McLaron and her partner Alexx Kretov, Ummagma's trademarked sound can be pretty much be summarised as dream-gaze, or should that be shoe-pop? And while some of you may well groan at the prospect of more of the same (there has been an awful lot doing the rounds at the moment), the band are doing more than enough to make them stand out amidst the multitude of dream-pop/shoegaze bands on offer.

Their latest single, a double A-Side comprised of 'Rotation' and 'Live and Let Die', exhibits two slightly differing sides to the band with each track featured. 'Rotation' is an understated and heady concoction that blends the band's penchant for both dream-pop and shoegaze together excellently. A repetitive, mounting synth loop seemingly pulls the song forward, while McLaron's vocals are, for the most part, and in the best way possible, somewhat ephemeral, floating to the fore every so often.
'Live and Let Die' on the other hand, begins with frenetic drums and a Smiths-esque guitar before giving way to a far more pronounced vocal than the previous track, and an almost post-rock quality to the pseudo-cacophony of instrumentation beneath.

While not as accessible as 'Rotation' what 'Live and Let Die' does do is show that Ummagma aren't just one trick ponies. Though the blissful dream-pop of the previous track is difficult not to sit up and take notice of, and is in fact my favourite of the two, 'Live and Let Die' seems somewhat more matured than 'Rotation', somewhat more adventurous. And as such, suggests that there's far more to come from a band who refuse to bay to the confines of particular genres, yet manage not to sound forced in the process.

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