Dienstag, 12. April 2016
ETT - 038 - Ultra - "Bay Area Babylon" Mixtape
I've never followed modern Oi! ( besides CRIMINAL DAMAGE ) very closely because so few current bands get anywhere close to giving me what I get from the classics. However, with bands like THE BRASS, CROWN COURT, and RIXE a little renaissance seems to be happening; in much the same way as the No Way generation of early 80s USHC-inspired bands reinvigorated the hardcore scene in the early and mid-00s, a new crop of Oi! bands is finally making music that can stand with the classics.
ULTRA have it down pat... gruff and tough, but with the hint of simple, terrace-chant melody that makes Oi! so immediate and memorable. If you're into bands like the ones i mentioned before... you won't be disappointed.
Shortly after the brilliant COLD CIRCUITS 12" my mate Paul, told me they‘re gonna start a more OI! influenced Band with members of SYNTHETIC ID, COLD CIRCUITS among many others and what should I say? They killed it again! The same old question, what is the secret ingredient of these guys? Whatever these Bay Area guys secretly mix in their drinks, it seems to bring out an endless flow of brilliant and catchy, yet distinctive songs – in each of their bands, again and again and again...
Anyway, it's pretty clear that the early UK Oi! sound is the primary inspiration here... not only is the general, rootsy pub rock / oi! approach largely the same, but a lot of the songs are built around the same kind of hammer-on rock and roll riffs that drove a lot of that early UK stuff. I would say this is a little more melodic than the first bands you get in mind when you are thinking of the first UK Oi! wave.
They build their songs around the same kinds of hyper-speed Rock n Roll riffs, and the singer has a brilliant melodic growl. I've never said it many times before in these descriptions, but I've always been a big fan of the bands that lie on the more melodic end of the Oi! spectrum, and ULTRA definitely hit that sweet spot, particularly with the title track, which is even more melodic than anything on the tape. The guitar line is downright poppy--almost giving it a punky power-pop edge a la the BOYS or something like that--and the vocals in the choruses gets me every time. But hey, it's not like ULTRA are shy about their influences anyway, right?
ULTRA are definitely up there with RIXE, THE BRASS and CROWN COURT as top-shelf modern Oi! , and if you've been following that sound this is pretty much an essential purchase. So, if the description above moves you , I'd encourage you to check this out, as aside from THE BRASS it's probably the best-executed record in this style I've heard in a very long time.