[sic] Magazine

Ulterior – The Bleach Room

London Goth-rock outfit Ulterior is made up of two McGregor brothers (vocals and synths), Paul Simmons (guitars) and Mickey Ellis (bass) and together they are certainly not short on confidence – in an interview last year with [sic] for example, Paul “Honey” McGregor readily declared their debut LP Wild In Wildlife “one of the best albums of the last twenty years”. So, despite coming emblazoned with promises of “Icecold – Speedhate – Staticvenom – Technopop”, it is perhaps a surprise to report that the band’s second long-player The Bleach Room stumbles along anonymously as much as it struts with that brand of world-beating confidence – props for its ominous title though.

For every windmilling “Body Hammer” there is thus a “Zero Over Two”. While one slaps you with harsh snare programming and headlong guitar fuzz the other has to contend with also-ran status. This on-off template is repeated throughout with varying degrees of success – “Hello Andromeda” has to the balls to dabble with subtlety, but the best efforts of its war-ravaged landscape and ghostly-mist chorus go unrewarded as they tend to lack the intergalactic wonder of the track’s title.

Though the Ulterior boys are undoubtedly for real , there’s also an inescapable whiff of pastiche to their work that must be addressed all the same. The dark rocker “Psychic Chic” starts well enough with graunching synth abuse and sci-fi FX yet it’s spoilt by unintentionally amusing vocal repeats of a certain Vietnam War epic. The band are however more than capable of getting it right as “Motorin’” proves through squalling feedback, breakneck drum programming and a tight vocal squeezed out from behind clenched teeth. Showing why bagging coveted support slots alongside The Sisters Of Mercy was so easy, “Skydancing” doesn’t make a bad account of itself with a similar dynamic too. It’s a shame that balance is less effective on tracks like “In Vitro” then, where nasty motorik drilling is offset by trying to cram in too much vocal when the band should have let their fierce noise do all the talking.

Pluses and minuses, The Bleach Room has plenty of both, but just too many of the latter sadly to land it anywhere near another credible album-of-the-decade accolade. You can bet your bottom dollar that Ulterior would beg to differ, mind.

Advised downloads: “Body Hammer” and “Motorin’”.

~The Bleach Room is released January 7th 2013 on Speed Records .~

[sic] review: Ulterior – Wild In Wildlife

[sic] interview: Ulterior

Ulterior @ myspace