Ute - The Gambler EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ute - The Gambler EP

by James Briscoe Rating:7 Release Date:2010-12-07

I must admit, at first I did not know what to make of Ute's The Gambler EP, their first release under Alcopop! Records. What Ute offers us here would be foreign to many and you could say it was a bit of a gamble. Great risks bring great reward, though, and despite an indifferent start to 'Innocent Tailor', once you give it a chance, it reveals a hidden beauty.

Whether it is the repeated guitar riff in the final stretch of Innocent Tailor I am not sure, but the guitar work makes this track seem so ice cold fresh, like a constantly pulsing breeze, coming through a car window as you go on a drive on a seaside mountain road. The vocals on the track do at times come to an intimidating and dark pitch but you can appreciate the visceral energy in the voice.

'The Refuser' starts out disappointingly clichéd. It is underwhelming after Innocent Tailor's never-ending guitar riff and frightening vocals and I am left confused as to where the EP is going in terms of style. The long held notes are all too reminiscent of the vocal experimentation already done by bands, such as Vampire Weekend, however, when Michael and Ollie's voices overlap, it transforms the song and makes it much more worthwhile and original.

'We Used to be Friends' is a melodic interlude, you could call it a filler, in between the other four major articles. It shows again Ute's intention to experiment with vocals; it seems like all three band members add to a layered chorus in this track. I am totally supportive of vocal dice-throwing and I applaud Ute for this. However, this short track does not really have the same crescendo that some of the EP's other songs have. Nevertheless, it does have that ongoing vocal 'landscape' that many music fans love. It is just not my thing.

'Brother' is another experimental and melodic track. It has a pleasant accompaniment of a soft and sweet guitar and a sensitive vocal performance from Ollie. It starts off slow-paced but picks up by the time the four-minute glass is half-full where more abrasive and compelling guitar playing is introduced.

After Innocent Tailor starts off the EP with a raucous bang, the main meat of the track list is quite lo-fi and calm so when 'Bunker' comes around, it is a necessary change of pace and atmosphere. It is a six minute long track but Ute really hit the jackpot and display what I believe are their best traits: their ability to be scarily loud and violent, their vocal energy and their ability to change the pace of a song seamlessly. The difference between 'Bunker' and 'We Used to be Friends' could not be starker. Bunker is six minutes long but seems to last for a shorter period due to its engaging nature. This is what I want all of Ute's tracks to sound like. However, I guess without slow and quiet, you could not enjoy quick and loud and after quick and loud; you might want some peace to relax you.

The main idea we get from Ute's The Gambler EP is that they do like to gamble when it comes to vocals. Ute like to experiment and they also like to be dark when appropriate. They do not turn their amps to 11 just because it is rock n roll; they are stubborn in their docility at times. For their rousing traits, though, I think Ute are definitely worth keeping an ear on.

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