On first listening to Ulysses on the Rival Sons tour last year – I thought they had groove but I wasn’t entirely sure that they were my thing. I guess that I wasn’t sure of what I was hearing. Was it pop? Was it rock? Was it psych? I think the answer to that is it was all of those things.
Ulysses, for me, would appear to be a big melting pot that has taken some of the best aspects of psychedelic pop/rock and fused them all together into an eclectic showcase of an album and right on!! It’s a joy to listen to.
I’ve had ‘Kill You Again’ on constantly of late and the reason for that is it is such an intricate album. There are so many influences, tones, accents and harmonies apparent here you can tell that some real thought has gone into the structure of these songs. Sure, some of them may not sound as raw as I would like in a band, and maybe a little too considered but each aspect highlights a little more of the track, shines a bit of extra light here and there, and really opens your ears to some different sounds and some great aspects of music. I know you won’t all agree and that’s cool.
The first track that really grabs me is ‘Strays’ the third track on the album. Shane’s rhythm hooks me with a kinda variation of a Calypso/Reggae beat. Once the first verse hits, the guitars spiral off into a very psychedelic journey for a few seconds as it comes back to a chorus of delicious harmonies and vocal tones. This song, along with ‘Mrs Drawnel’, to my ears have a very Sgt Pepper feel about them – infact you could say that about quite a few tracks on this record. Tom and Luke have got some brilliantly written and bold riffs throughout. Not always feeling the need for shredding solos each note has purpose.
The next track and title track from the album ‘Kill You Again’ is a more bass and rhythm section driven song with a slightly darker tone. However I am not sure if Luke and the guys have noticed but the rhythm of the lyrics on the second part of the verse of this song sounds quite similar to Katy Perry’s ‘I kissed a girl’ – Just something I noticed ;). Something I really appreciate in Ulysses is that during this track they seem to pull all resources as they trail into an instrumental jamming journey, with spectacular rhythm changes, explosions, maracas? Gunfire.... It’s a little crazy – and I like it.
I think without a doubt my favourite track is ‘French Japanese’. No matter how many times I listen to the album – this is the track that gets me... it heads into a very slow, sassy and more bluesy feel during the verse, which is definitely where my comfort zone is. Very sexy indeed. However like most Ulysses tracks as you get settled in they like to throw a little curve ball in there which changes the pace and always for the better and more interesting. Lots of little hooks to look forward to!
Is it possible that the boys from Ulysses although written off instantly by some, are in fact experimental music geniuses?? If you listened to that question and thought “Woah, that’s a bit bold” then I wouldn’t blame you. However I would ask you this – have you actually listened to the album? Well, I can tell you at least, that while Ulysses may intimidate most as they can’t really be thrown into a box like most bands, they do have an appeal all of their own and I like that.
I have had this on repeat for 4 days now and each day my favourite track changes as each time I hear something new amongst the very cleverly structured and written songs. It’s true that I think Ulysses are very different to my usual taste but they are a different band, a different machine and should be accepted as such. They are an absolute ray of light to listen to. Please don’t just put them on once and think “it’s not for me” put it on a few times and listen to the musicianship that has gone into creating this very psychedelic musical journey. Enjoy!
All articles are © Michelle Nevill