To be honest, this release surprised me a little bit. The packaging and song names being slightly amateurish, I thought Urgent Sea would be one of those discs I review upon first listen (there, I admit it!). We promise to give every album a review no matter how brief and shitty, but Ume deserved some half decent coverage on their talent (a talent that needs to be finely honed). Ume could be a good band if they stopped trying to sound like a bunch of others. Female lead Lauren Langner Larson channels Kim Deal and Courtney Love throughout the whole affair, and that’s a shame. For most of album opener “Wake” though, her voice stays below a raspy growl and it actually sounds cute—which creates a nice dichotomy between it and the skronking of the guitars. Their musicianship won’t blow you away (reminiscent of many ‘Kim’ Sonic Youth songs), but they do sound nice and gritty.
Songs like “Hive Mind”, “Hurricane” and “Shake Down” are decent but too often the band is dangerously close to mimicking guess who. Larson performs both vocal and guitar duties which is evidence of her passion and energy. The girls got it, but let’s hope she begins to focus it in a new direction. “Wake” is without a doubt the winner on this disc, but it also ventures near territory tread by one too many female vocalists. Throughout Urgent Sea I had memories of some of the bands I heard on the radio in the early to mid 90’s. If you don’t see a problem with this then I guess you could make some space beside Veruca Salt and those Kim Deal side projects.
- Andrew Iliadis