Review: Ultimate Painting – Dusk


I keep mistyping their name as “Intimate Painting”. It’s a Freudian slip, really. Dusk is the third Ultimate Painting, a well-oiled psychedelic folk machine made up from Jack Cooper and James Hoare . Both come from severely underrated bands, Mazes and Veronica Falls. What first brought me into their world is how their writing styles melted together. Ultimate Painting had enough distorted moments to jolt you from your zoning out, but then you could float back into a beanbag, letting the relaxing atmosphere soothe you. Green Lanes, out last year, was a meditative affair. I’d be lying if I didn’t accept that ‘The Ocean’ had this magical feeling of longing and that’s why I got hooked on that one. What Green Lanes accomplished was syncing Cooper and Hoare‘s writing styles.

Now comes Dusk, out tomorrow on Trouble in Mind records. It’s the perfect name for the album, as the feelings of sunsets do come across. There’s an inherent sadness in Ultimate Painting‘s work, but it doesn’t feel like it stems from depression. It’s that sadness attached to reflection, to that self-assessment you do when something is finished. End of a day. End of a season. End of year. Something has changed and with the good and bad that change bring, there’s a certain unnamed feeling creeping by. That feeling is evoked by Dusk. 

‘Portrait of Jason’ in particular fits this description. Relaxed pace, minimalist arrangements, and enough atmosphere to terraform an old barren planet. The inclusion of a Rhodes in several tracks, like ‘Lead the way’, enriches the atmosphere. A bit of gospel? Perhaps, it’s a grand old instrument and letting it shine like it does in this track gives the band its own sound. This sound, developed by this constant release schedule, is now fully evolved and it makes Dusk a highlight in their career: the point where they have gelled perfectly and with a solid foundation, can continue building upon.

Where will they go after this? I’m not too worried, I asked myself the very same question after Green Lanes. With just a hint of distortion (that little riff in ‘I can’t run anymore’), Dusk feels comfortable in a quiet realm. A green flash, the last gasp of the day, indicates the sun is now long gone. A star will pop here and there and if you drive long enough, you might hear their music fading in, slowly overtaking whatever was on your stereo. Maybe it’ll be the thoughtful ‘Silhouette Shimmering’. Maybe it’ll be the 60s-friendly ‘Who is your next target?’ Whichever is, let it flow, let it blast and simmer in this music.

Words: Sam J. Valdés López

Ultimate Painting Website. Facebook. Twitter.

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