Lou Reed never really died, he keeps inspiring young talents across the world. British band Ultimate Painting, back with a sophomore record, has a mellow vibe that reminds of The Velvet Underground circa Loaded, comforting pristine tunes wrapped in dapper melancholy.
The band’s main asset is combining forces sonically and vocally.
Jack Cooper and James Hoare are song goldsmiths who wear melody on their sleeves and complement each other perfectly, making an ideal autumnal soundtrack, dopamine infused and mentally soothing. It feels like being in New York City sometime in the fall, feeling cozy indoors whilst looking out the window on a rainy day, a walk on the not so wild side that pulls at your heart strings and gets your purr motor running.
Their guitars are delicious and beguiling and while the song structures seem nearly effortless, they possess that other layer that leaves you longing, something that lays in your comfort zone while injecting a prodigal amount of escapism. In this regard, they remind of their fuzzier NYC cousins Crystal Stilts, combining retro elements in a sound which is still modern enough, instantly enjoyable but also intellectually-stimulating, urban but somewhat pastoral too, a mental picture of the Central Park landmark, that they dedicated a song to on their debut self-titled LP.
“Woken by Noises”, one of the pinnacles on Green Lanes, bears similarities with The Stilts “Future Folklore”, a long lost recollection of VU’s Run Run Run : a more hectic vision of the city while “The Ocean” and “Pay The Price” sound more bucolic. "Break The Chain" has a Beatles touch that gets under your skin and is also in the vein of the Australian gem The Lovetones’ Meditations.
Let’s hope that these two Brits keep expanding their canvas as they know how to please the listener with their painterly eye. Meanwhile, they may brighten dull days and chilly nights.
Green Lanes was released in August 2015, on Trouble in Mind Records.