Ulrika Spacek - Modern English Decoration

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-02

Many were caught by surprise last year by Ulrika Spacek’s first album, aptly titled The Album Paranoia. It came practically out of nowhere, sucking out the essence of what good, should I use the term, modern progressive music, should sound like and throwing away the excesses that musical line of thinking produced in its Seventies’ heyday. Basically, the band leaned on all the good ideas taken from Krautrock (they are from London, but they came together as a band in Berlin, after all), but also from later inspirations like Television and started coming up with some interesting and invigorating sounds.

Their second album Modern English Decoration is neither a gimmick of its predecessor nor an enormous leap into something completely different. It is an evolutionary ‘progression”, expansion, building on the quality of the first album and adding building blocks of new elements and refining of the ones they already visited. It is again recorded at their communal home/ former art gallery which is obviously a good source of inspiration, since the recording does not feel like a lo-fi outing but like an organic concept that could easily be re-played live.

The moment Mimi Pretend opens the album you get the feeling that the band has grown and that both their songwriting and musicianship have matured. You could call this melodious progressive - music that reaches for the boundaries on one side but is utterly melodious and listenable on the other. Sure, the streaks of influences could be heard here and there, but what can also be heard is that Ulrika Spacek has grown as a band and that they could be on the verge of not only producing good but great music.

What is also encouraging is that the album flows like a seamless whole with nothing that could be called a low moment, but with quite a few outstanding moments like Silvertonic, the title song and Saw A Habit Forming. Modern English Decoration is excellent, maybe still not earth-shattering, but Ulrika Spacek is getting there.

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