Ultrasound: Everything Picture (Deluxe Edition) (One Little Independent) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, October 26th, 2021  

Ultrasound

Everything Picture (Deluxe Edition)

One Little Independent

Oct 11, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


If ever the phrase “right place, wrong time” could sum up a band it would be Ultrasound. Formed in 1996 at the height of Britpop, the London-based quintet were anything but retrospective revivalists of a bygone era. Instead, their fusion of eccentric art rock, psychedelia. and epic grandiosity made sure they stood out from the crowd like five glowing beacons.

With the hype machine in overdrive and record label money seemingly thrown around like confetti, Ultrasound became one of the most courted bands of the decade. Releasing a single with then up-and-coming independent Fierce Panda before signing to Nude Records, also home to Suede with whom they often found themselves compared, Ultrasound’s music became the soundtrack for outsiders and misfits; those that didn’t fit in nor particularly wanted to. Alongside fellow anomalies Six By Seven, Puressence, and Ooberman, Ultrasound made music that demanded to be heard on its own merits. Beyond categorization and impossible to compartmentalize, their sound veered between gargantuan prog rock and intelligently crafted pop. Sometimes within the same song.

Yet just four years later and literally six months after the release of their eagerly anticipated debut long player, Everything Picture, it was all over. So, it’s a long overdue and more than welcome reissue of said debut to commemorate its 22nd anniversary. However, this Deluxe Edition is much more than just the album repackaged. It contains a mammoth 37 tracks (the original record comprised of 12) spread across two double vinyl records and a CD of live recordings, demos, and radio sessions. There’s also a 26-page booklet and poster to go with the boxset, which provides a more than fitting document of an album that should have initiated world domination for its creators.

It’s strange looking back to think Ultrasound were branded as “overly ambitious,” “bombastic,” and “naïve” at the time by a music press unsure what to make of them. Nevertheless, the band spawned a dedicated cult following that ensured their singles became regular fixtures on the official UK charts, sitting awkwardly alongside hits of the day by B*Witched and Mariah Carey. Lead vocalist and guitarist Andrew “Tiny” Wood cut a formidable presence and distinguishable voice, aided and abetted by fellow singer and bass player Vanessa Best alongside guitarist and chief songwriter Richard Green, keyboard player Matt Jones, and drummer Andy Peace. The line-up from that 1997 debut single (“Same Band”) through to the near flawless Everything Picture proved to be one of the most definitive from the decade.

Even now, listening to the exquisite likes of “Same Band” (“I’d kiss you if you weren’t a girl”), punchy glam pop that’s “Fame Thing” (“Wanna fix you a meal, wanna cop a good feel, wanna feed you a line, wanna fuck with your mind”), and panoramic “Floodlit World” (“Sometimes with my heart I can reach you, people only see what they want to”) it’s something of a travesty that they didn’t go on to become one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

Even Ultrasound’s B-sides usurped most of their contemporaries’ singles. Take the guttural “Football Meat” or delectable “Underwater Love Story,” for example. What’s more, Ultrasound were also a ferocious live band during this period as the 1998 recordings from Reading Festival, Glastonbury, Oxford Sound City (introduced and lauded by the late, great John Peel no less), and Manchester Academy ably demonstrate.

Of course, the Ultrasound story didn’t just end in acrimonious fashion back in October 1999, having got back together in 2010 to release two more albums (Play For Today and Real Britannia) respectively. Nevertheless, if you’re searching for a starting point that’s largely become the band’s epitaph, there’s no finer place to begin than Everything Picture. (www.ultrasoundband.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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