Black Sea EP

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Ultrviolence

Black Sea EP

  • 4/5

Reviewed by Jen Dan May 18, 2016

The Canadian post-rock/darkwave trio Ultrviolence releases a broodingly restless and foreboding EP.

Like dangerously foreboding skull ‘n’ bones pirates roaming over the dark and barren ocean, Ultrviolence sails through the ominously portentous post-punk and darkwave genres with a brooding gravity on its recently released Black Sea EP.  The trio hails from the northern climate of Calgary, Canada where its members Nate J (vocals, bass), Ali Abbas (guitar), and Kirk Power (drums) have honed their craft with DIY zeal and intense focus.  They’ve smartly removed the “a” from their band’s name, possibly as a means of distinction and to be more easily found online.  The 6-track Black Sea EP bowed May 13th via Northern Light Records. 

Lead single and EP-opener “Better Learn How To Swim” drops the listener into the deep end pretty quickly with its hooky bass line undertow and restless guitar and drums churn.  Nate J stalks somberly through the verses, moodily admitting in a low register that, “Sometimes I lose myself in somebody else…” before menacingly intoning, “…the ocean is coming on a storm tonight.”  The chorus sweeps by in a wave of shining guitar lines, cymbal crash, and drum bash, with Nate J balefully howling out the song title like a warning and twisting the end of the phrase with pained yearning.

The Interpol-like third single “Untitled” continues the sonic unrest with its choppy rhythms, burnished guitar drone, and pushy bass line.  Nate J pulls out his words in an emotionally cooler, spare tone, confessing, “I’ve got a weight upon my shoulders.”  The stormy turmoil of guitar, bass, cymbals, and drums haunts “Turn The Lights Off”.  A dispassionate Nate J declares, “Sometimes I think that love is a myth / and I’ve just got to let it go.”  Emotively he’s going for a deadened spirit vibe, but his gloomy-goth vocal delivery sounds a bit too robotic on this number.

Second single “Radiation” shines edgily with warped synths lines and a kicky drum beat.  Occasional chiming strikes of guitar reverb mark Nate J’s words as he direly proclaims, “I hear you screamin’ at night / Some people just need a little more time.”  The roiling bass and guitar lines galvanize the chorus with anxious energy as suspended synths float over the tumult.  A marching drum beat, contemplative piano notes, and Nate J’s hovering, lighter register, wordless vocals pad out the already-packed tune as Nate J bemoans, “There’s something strange with the way we are.”

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