11th October | The Louisiana
The intimate room of the Louisiana is again busy this evening as London’s Ulrika Spacek continued their UK tour in support of their second record Modern English Decoration with a stop in Bristol. Their music contains such evocative layers that its easy to get lost within their entrancing music, yet to witness them live is a different kind of experience, their music emboldened with a sharp, raucous edge that is distinguishing from the off.
Something Anorak’s minimalistic set-up live allows for full appreciation of the duo’s poignant rhythms to take centre stage. As aesthetically gravelly as they are, they possess a strange warmth that hints at something spiritually colourful as much as emotionally weighted. Chris Barrett is a commanding vocalist, wallowing and screeching in equal measure, possessed within the arrangements they craft as he sways erratically from where he is perched. The mood fits well, their songs concise yet considered live, maintaining a consistent pace that matches for a warm, active atmosphere, something heightened by the arrival of a really busy crowd from the offset. The tender moments really shine within their set, ‘The Doctor’ in particular bringing out the gentle melancholic elements of the band’s output amongst its brittle hooks, an adventure in narrative as the group explore within a wave of reverberated melancholy.
Ulrika Spacek are a beautifully contiguous, fluid live band. Their librate guitars chime and weave, sometimes gentle and with a mystic atmosphere, at other points direct and fantastically destructive. For the many elements that their songs subtly possess, it’s impressive just how distinct they sound, the clarity is stunning. ‘Circa 1954’ is a slowly eviscerating notion, floating and fading amongst a worming synth-hum as it leads into the exploratory dream of ‘Strawberry Glue’, where the group let loose with all the energy they have. Their music live creates a wonderful dissonance, a space between gentle cascading melodies and fragmented disorientation. At points its a visceral noise cascade, bright strobe lights incessant as the band drive through ‘Everything, All the Time’, a powerfully lingering track that impressively manages to highlight the breathless melodic passages at the forefront of its composition through the heaviness of its distorted performance.
The band somehow sound even more considered live than on record, an impressive feat that’s found by the joy in lingering, their tracks allowed to breathe and fill further space. ‘Ultra Vivid’ has an added tenderness to it’s wallowing melodies, an emotion further enhanced live with the richness of three guitars circling Rhys Edwards’ ringing, mournful vocal. The stage essence of the group is inviting, stood in a semi-circle, bathed in various transfusing collages, before suddenly striking the crowd awash with a white strobe.
It’s particularly enrapturing during the discordant brilliance of closer ‘She’s A Cult’, the group moulding all their multi-faceted elements into a rich bond of an encompassing performance.
Have a listen to ‘She’s A Cult’ below.