Album review: Ultimate Painting | Ultimate Painting

Ultimate Painting is the side project of Jack Cooper from Mazes and James Hoare from Veronica Falls. Whatever about the work of their bands, the two clearly bonded over a shared love of understated sixties pop/rock. The opening statement and title track sounds all the while like an encapsulation of Loaded-era Velvet Underground. The groove is laid-back yet perfectly taut, with a perfectly taut rhythm section, and this carries through to a gorgeous guitar solo outtro. Can’t You See and Riverside have Byrds-like harmonies over understated, swooning VU-style guitars.

Central Park Blues picks up the pace, though its guitar line is almost a direct lift from The Velvet Underground’s What Goes On. Ten Street and Jane nod the head to the likes of VU’s Some Kinda Love instead of directly ripping it off, and succeed far more as a result. There are some lovely touches on the album: the positively old-fashioned harmonies and descending melody of Rolling In The Deep End, the moment piano replaces the spindly guitar on Three Piers… I could go on. Later, She’s A Bomb and Winter In Your Heart will please fans of Teenage Fanclub.

Cooper and Hoare have found a disused trove to mine for inspiration, or at least one which has remained untroubled for a few years. A promising collection of songs.

Killian Laher

Tracklist:

1. Ultimate Painting
2. Can’t You See?
3. Central Park Blues
4. Riverside
5. Ten Street
6. Rolling In The Deep End
7. Three Piers
8. Jane
9. She’s A Bomb
10. Winter In Your Heart

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