Having impressed and seduced with their previous pair of albums three years ago, Canadian/Ukrainian dream pop duo Ummagma finally release a long and eagerly awaited successor in the shape of the Frequency EP. The tantalising proposition is bred from the ambience infused dream pop/ shoegaze prowess the band is already renowned for but ventures into a far more expansive landscape in relation to the intimacy of those previous releases, a celestial lilt and universal imagination in tow.
Ummagma consists of Canadian vocalist/musician Shauna McLarnon and Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kretov, their project emerging in 2012 and quickly stirring up attention and acclaim with two simultaneously released albums, Antigravity and Ummagma that first year. Their success has bred a support and focus on the duo which has never wavered across the three years since the unveiling of their albums but things are sure to get truly aroused again with the release of Frequency.
The EP opens with Orion, an immediate spatial romance for the senses and imagination from its first electronically cast atmospheric breath. The alluring voice of McLarnon is just as swift in laying charm upon the emerging flight of suggestion and sound, Kretov’s guitar potently hinting too with emotive textures within the wrap of electro seducing. In no time the imagination is lost in the immersive warmth and call of the song, submerged in its elegant hug and sparked to explore its own assumed passage of adventure and design. It is a mesmeric start to the release, the familiar Ummagma invention and tender sound venturing into distant climes and atmospheres.
As enjoyable as it certainly is, the song is soon eclipsed by Lama and its evocative cinematic travelogue of sound and expression. A guitar niggles away with a coaxing temptation as keys float across, they increasing in size and design like sonic clouds. It is a fascinating start but it is with the evolution into a compelling post punk stroll with a wonderfully shadowy bassline, that the track really comes alight, McLarnon courting it all with her captivating tones. Like a mix of Everything but the Girl and Murder Shoes, the song bewitches; its contrasts of warm beauty and slightly off-kilter dynamics just glorious.
Winter Tale looms up with its haunting breath next, electronics keenly entwining with McLarnon’s angelic vocals and matching harmonies. Again it is an immersion impossible to escape or resist, body and thoughts soon absorbed by its chilled radiance and cosmic enticing before the instrumental exploration of Galacticon takes the imagination and ears into a perpetually unfolding and expanding dimension of space and emotion, a soundscape as massive and planetary as it is provocatively intimate.
The following Ocean Girl offers an acoustic serenade with a Parisian hue delivered by the voice and craft of Kretov. It too is an enthralling and heavily pleasing proposal though personal hopes for some backing harmonies and contrasts courtesy of McLarnon are never realised. It provides a fine end to the EP all the same, though the actually conclusion of Frequency comes with three distinctly different and enjoyable remixes of Lama, a trio conjured by Robin Guthrie, Malcolm Holmes of OMD, and Lights that Change respectively.
It has been a while but the wait for something new from Ummagma has been well worth it. The only problem is now anticipation is aflame for another album of their fascinating sound and invention.
The Frequency EP is released November 13th available through Raphalite Records @ https://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/frequency
Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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