Smile Politely

Album Review: The Uglysuit

It has been a big couple of months for The Uglysuit, an emerging band from Oklahoma City. They have recently signed onto the Chicago-based label, Quarterstick/Touch and Go, and are gaining a notable amount of recognition from Pitchfork’s Forkcast – a section of the site dedicated to showcasing new songs from emerging or well-known artists. Incessant touring also helps with upcoming global dates in and throughout Europe.

The group has just recently released their self-titled full-length CD, an album with 9 songs full of optimism, reverb and layers. The songs are primarily fueled by the unavoidable melodies created by either guitar parts or vocal harmonies, many times intertwining different melodic phrases to achieve a rich and full-bodied wall of sound.

This style seems to be a popular trend today with similar groups such as Band of Horses infusing this method of building tension and warmth to the track. Many aspects of The Uglysuit’s album sets them apart from others, but their only pitfall comes in the form of repetitive compositions. While the musical ideas and songwriting shines, the forms of particular songs become somewhat predictable by the time the album closes. This is not to say that every song suffers from this as there are many more tracks that greatly stand out from the rest, more notably towards the beginning of the album.

“Brownblue’s Passing,” the first track, initially sails along as a delicate pseudo-waltz until breaking apart only to build back up into a dense closing, supported by continuous, interlocking guitar loops. “Chicago,” the album’s most cohesive song, follows next. The tune is an ode to their new city, exemplified through the chorus – “Where did I begin to drift off to/ to think that I can fly/ my mind, I took it to Chicago.” As the rest of the album progresses the majority of songs stand out, especially the seven minute epic “..And We Became Sunshine,” which shifts in between many different ideas, utilizing loops and sonic manipulations.

All in all, what The Uglysuit does, they do well, achieving originality despite swimming dangerously close to cliché.

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