It is not only a slight shift in band name which is offered by new album Ultra Cultura, but also a richer maturity in songwriting and sound from its creators Select All Delete Save As which at times catches the breath. The band’s previous self-titled debut showed selectalldeletesaveas, as their name was written in 2011, as a highly mischievous and unpredictable proposition. It was a raw and promising encounter which ebbed and flowed in success but nevertheless ignited the imagination of a great many, and a potential soaked seed which has bred the tremendous Ultra Cultura. The new ten track release from the Jersey bred duo of by Antony Walker and Terry Emm is a tantalising and eclectic persuasion which has not lost any of the pair’s devilish intent to wrong foot and constantly surprise the listener. It more impressively though shows a big leap in the quality, writing, and musical craft of the band, showing a maturity which has the potential to bring the band intensive attention.
The pair of Walker and Emm met on a music course at the University of Gloucestershire, and it was when the former was commissioned to record an album, that the two linked up with Selectalldeletesaveas, band and first album the results. With tracks recorded over a year ago, the two musicians have returned to spread their lyrical and musically revelry, Ultra Cultura a natural but to be honest far greater continuation than maybe anticipated. Linking up with sound engineer Jono McMillan, who also provided drums and percussion on most of the tracks, Select All Delete Save As has sculpted an album to steal attention and imagination from its opening seconds, something it never relinquishes until the closing of the final festival of devilment and intrigue. As with its predecessor, certain moments on the release shine stronger than others, but there is never a moment when attention gets seduced away from the release this time around.
The title track sets things off to a strikingly potent start, sparking an immediate increase in an already eager appetite inspired from the band’s last release. Electronic pulses and percussive teasing toys with ears initially, coaxing their focus ready for a raw rub of guitar. Already something feels different to the band, a more honed and concentrated enterprise stroking thoughts as mellow vocals smoulder within the brew. A stronger indie breath seizes control soon after as a shoegaze like warmth permeates the still nicely grazing texture provided by guitars. It is an absorbing persuasion which really ignites with the stunning voice of guest vocalist and fellow islander Rachael McVay. With tones which seduce note by note and a fire to her delivery, the singer ignites the already pleasing track to new levels, which in turn seemingly sparks a greater intensity in the sounds wrapping her contribution. The song is a magnetic start to the album, the first character of a multi-faceted release.
The following Human Error merges chilled electronic premise with guitar woven melodies, vocals plain and emotionless tempering the emotive flames around them. It is a more testing blend than the previous song but also growing to a proposition easily successful with the imagination, its mix of Radiohead and Joy Division coldness with expressive post rock like enticements permeating incessantly until the listener is immerged within its shadowed grin. Its place is sandwiched between the opener and the excellent Modern Life is War and does it no favours but the song easily holds its own before its successor lights another fuse of ardour. Again featuring McVay, the song makes a restrained entrance before a sizzling shot of guitar spirals across the ceiling of the emerging track. There is a feel of House Of love to the track at first which with the alignment of vocals between band and McVay sparking a broader smile of energy, the song glides sultrily across the senses like a mix of The Adult Net and Some Kind Of Wonderful era March Violets. Mesmeric and ravenously seductive, the song is an evocative breeze of indie pop and quite delicious.
Both the melancholic Temperature and the Archetypal Woman simmer in their temptations but croon and dance respectively their way into the affections, the first with the band’s skilled humour and precisely invasive melodic bait within another emotionally haunted atmosphere and the second with its jazzy meanderings and very English relish to refuse predictability and expectations. Whereas Temperature plays with a post punk seeded lack of light its successor romps like The Monochrome Set meets The Jazz Butcher, a distinct British kind of eccentricity which as its companion only expands the diversity and boundaries of the album further.
The pair of Service of the Lord and Nectar of Instruction also takes longer to wrap their persuasive toxins around the passions though imagination is soon enlisted by the temperate yet solemn caress of the first and the anti-folk smile of the latter. The evidence of their success is the lingering enticements which swim around the memory after their leaving, the jazz funk invention of guitar in the second of the two leading into an eagerly catchy chorus one of the persistent lures.
The virulent seduction of instrumental Slowcore Puck absorbs next, its impassioned climate and melody hued colours flirting with thoughts before the post punk/electronic minimalism of The Sun & his Sunglasses brings its entrancing psyche encircling hypnotism to the party. The humour of the band as everywhere simmers and spills with glee, adding to the fun and creative irreverence often at work as in closing song Charge my Pad. An infectious stroll of guitar crafted indie rock with pop spice and drama which seems seeded in The Cure, band and song turn on its audience with a great flume of Bowie inspired mischief, this passage of the song simply the illegitimate yet endearing bastard son of Starman. With blossoming keys and a constantly flavoursome throaty bass line, the song leaves album and its recipient with a gleefully wide grin.
It is probably fair to say that Select All Delete Save As is still an incitement for a certain audience but as we stated in our review of the last album, the band does not care when it comes down to it as long as they light up their own and some other hearts somewhere. Ultra Cultura is sure to recruit a great many more adventurous appetites to the band and its ever evolving presence which has really leap in impressive growth between albums.
The self-released Ultra Cultura is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ultra-cultura/id868037607
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