Ultimate Painting – Dusk
Ultimate Paintings Dusk, their third album in the past three years, is a quiet bedroom indie rock album with influences ranging from Neu to Yo La Tengo to Donovan. Although the similarities in sound are there, the effort is lacking.
The album begins strongly, with Bills, which takes advantage of the silence surrounding the instruments, while the guitar lays a simple backdrop to a catchy, driving melody. Song for Brian Jones is another decent number, using the same formula as the first track but with a more somber touch. The album drags from there on though, as you begin to realize that Ultimate Painting rely on the same formula for nearly every song: verse-chorus-verse, with the guitar tip-toeing in but never really making its presence known, allowing the vocals to carry the bulk of the melody.
Although this formula works for some albums, it must be accompanied with great songwriting and lasting melodies to make it memorable; but most songs on Dusk are as forgettable as the next, until you wake up and realize the album is over. At best, this album is good background music.
Dusk has its moments. Who Is Your Next Target sounds like it could be a track on an album by The Clean or Yo La Tengo. As I mentioned, the first two songs are enjoyable and interesting, but outside of those three, theres nothing unique to say about the rest. Sometimes, the quiet, breathy vocals over the accompanying lead guitar riff on each song is charming and calming. But overall, the songwriting comes off as lazy, predictable, and uninspired. Ultimate Painting is a talented duo, and 2015s Green Lanes showed some signs of a promising future, but unfortunately they missed the dartboard completely with this record. Maybe next year, UP.