Ultimate Painting - Ultimate Painting
Jack Cooper and James Hoare have history with two of Britain’s best traditionalist indie bands, Mazes and Veronica Falls respectively. So it’s hardly surprising that their album together as Ultimate Painting doesn’t exactly crash through sonic barriers in its quest for musical novelty, relying instead on a familiar model: the third Velvet Underground album, with a dash, perhaps, of Young Marble Giants. The playing is precise, subdued and autumnal; voices are hushed and expressionless, in those muted two-part harmonies familiar from thousands of indie albums in this lineage. But, oh, the songwriting! Both Mazes and Veronica Falls have made outstanding albums before, but this is surely the best record either Hoare or Cooper have been involved with. Every arrangement is perfect for the melody, and every melody sticks: the cardboard-box drum machine, walking bassline, cheap keyboard and simple guitar arpeggio of Riverside would be nothing individually; together they’re perfect.