The pedigree of its members alone makes Ultraista’s self-titled debut something to be excited about.
The trio, made up of vocalist Laura Bettinson and multi-instrumentalists/producers Nigel Godrich and Joey Waronker, have amongst them been involved with acts and artists such as Beck, REM, Elliot Smith, Atoms For Peace and Radiohead.
Godrich in particular, is often considered Radiohead’s unofficial sixth member. He is co-credited as producer on each of the band’s albums since OK Computer and listening to Ultraista makes it clear how much influence he has in the Radiohead recording process.
The three piece’s sound sits somewhere in the vicinity of Radiohead’s In Rainbows reimagined with a female vocalist.
Each of the album’s 10 tracks follows a similar formula built on synths, bass and vocal loops which interweave with Bettinson’s vulnerable vocals working as mantras to complement the sounds.
Lyrically, the album does not fly high, but maybe it isn’t supposed to.
The lyrics work as another layer to the sounds Ultraista are aiming to produce. This experimental electro-pop is also not unlike the sounds of Broadcast, with Bettinson sharing a similar, less fuzzy vocal style to the late Trish Keenan.
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While “Small Talk” and “Our Song” stand out as the most radio-friendly tracks, this is an album where each song works together to create a landscape and does so to great effect.
Some people may find this album repetitive but it shouldn’t be dismissed. At times it is dark and sexy, at other times bright and soaring. This is not a record to be ignored.