Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK


UUUU is a new group comprising some heavyweight names including Edvard Graham Lewis (Wire, Dome), Matthew Simms (Wire, It Hugs Back), Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga, Vanishing Twin, who featured on releases from The Oscillations, Raime) and Thighpaulsandra (Julian Cope, Spiritualized, Coil and who was part of the Wire touring group). With Wire being something of a common denominator amongst those names listed those expecting something approaching or akin to Wire will be sorely disappointed as their first release in the form of this eponymous album, currently only available on download or on double vinyl, harnesses a wild and unpredictable sound; an experimental vision revolving around expansive Krautrock and psychedelic electronics and Magaletti's expressive drum performance, with the occasional offbeat pop-song.

Right from the off Magaletti sets the tone with a vivid concoction of bell, rattles and percussion which open 'The Latent Black Path Of Summons Served'. Sweeping up drone chime and an electro pulse the rattles coalesce into a jittery rhythm bursting into jazz drum rolls against a wall of guitar-noise sinking into hyper-cymbal rolls cast against squelchy synth projections. UUUU comprise an impressive line-up but it is Magaletti of Vanishing Twin who appears almost central to UUUU on this and the following track; everything revolves and evolves from her evocative, playful and powerful rhythms. 'Partial Response Takes Another Form' swells gradually from subdued revving synths into a wavering drone hum, sweeping up jazz rhythms in the form of drum and cymbal rolls as it gets progressively louder. Rather than bursting into noise like the opener it breaks down into a loose freeform improvisation of murky electronics and effects over extended jazz drum rhythms.

'Five Gates' is the first track to lock together the disparate influences and individuals with the psychedelic electronic swirl and pop edge of 'Five Gates'. Imagine an instrumental Wire crossed with the melodic elements found on Thighpaulsandra's solo albums and you might be onto something for, at least, the first four minutes or so. Just like the expansive sojourns that appear throughout Thighpaulsandra's solo work 'Five Gates' sets off at a tangent dissolving into expressive and explosive rhythms with extended stretches of electronics amidst loose rhythms and electro thuds. UUUU are more than capable of locking into a groove and they do that effortlessly here in the first few minutes and elsewhere but when towards the end they reconvene into a more "rock band" formation they race headlong into noise and dissolution. It takes until 'Boots With Wings', and by this point we're more than half-way through this self-titled album and onto side C before UUUU really get to something approaching a pop-song. Here Lewis' clipped vocal is set over supple solid bass tones sliced by rhythmic clap. Even here though the frolicking bass tones are set off on experimental passages of analogue tones and electronic effects. That may be surprising as 'Boots With Wings' only edges over the 4-minute mark. That in itself encapsulates the joy of UUUU where everything is free and unpredictable. 'It's Going All Over The Floor' is less direct but offers an enchanting combination of glitchy electronics, funk chords and loose pummelling bass tones. And just when you've got into its groove it once again veers off into sonic abstraction with experimental analogue electronics. Meanwhile, 'The Princess Anne Love Cassette' meanders to a quiet stillness, where shuffling textures and soft skittery brushed drum patterns give way to pumping electro sequences that bow out far too early into a morass of discordant frequency tones.

The sound of UUUU is unfettered and unwieldy and at times they seem all over the place but the quartet get back into the groove, of the Krautrock variety, on 'Verlagerung, Verlagerung, Verlagerung'. Assuming a Wire-like form Lewis' vocal drifts over a drone as it fixes into a Faust-y motorik beat with stuttering, chiming suspended synths, before sauntering off into an expansive Krautrock groove. The closer, 'Il Ventre Del Nulla', brings another experimental edge to the full band where everything is sucked up backwards into psychedelic territory. Overblown psyched-up guitars and whooshing synths whip up a storm amidst the swirl of mad chamber synths as it hurtles onwards and disintegrates into rhythmic disarray and textured sidereal electronics.

UUUU's self-titled album is wild and invigorating, full of unexpected twists and turns. There are moments here you wish were slightly curtailed and other moments you wish were extended but it is an unbridled chaotic experiment that works for the most part. It sounds like they had fun making this. I've no idea if this is an ongoing project or just a one-off but UUUU's psych-noise, Krautrock electronics and post-punk experimentation is a joyous creation. UUUU do seem to touch upon the eccentric and challenging nature of Thighpaulsandra's solo releases so if you enjoy this do check them out too. UUUU are certainly onto something and I love it. For more information go to Editions Mego