Umpire - Now We're Active
Since formation as a studio-based trio back in 2006, Perth's Umpire have honed their sound over a couple of EPs, added a drummer and released their debut album "Now We're Active." They make self-described ‘wide-screen indie rock' and both their sound and choice of titles perpetuates this sense of vast open spaces.
"Green Light District" kicks it all off with jangly but epic sweeping guitars-guitars that suddenly take off with abrasive but melodic washes, especially toward the end the vocals soar ala Wings-era McCartney. On "Supply Chins", the now moody, distorted guitars rub against regretful but dreamy vocals-a psych pop masterpiece. Likewise, "Jewellery Can Be Disturbing" features brash guitars and fragile vocals.
From the brilliant pop of "Streamers" to the noisy, memorable Milking a Thistle," Umpire display a dizzying command of pop and rock melody, with slightly abstract lyrics that add to the depth of these seemingly simple tracks. The closer, "Cyclones Into Sunshowers, is a gorgeous and poetic song that is always grounded such that it never threatens to devolve into pathos.
This debut by Umpire is mature, catchy and crunchy, with a poise and sense of the dramatic lacking in bands who have been around for years. "Now We're Active" is a truly active record, by a band that has hit the ground running with a surge of insight and power.
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