London duo release second album in less than a year. The sound might have changed, but the quality hasn’t
James Hoare and Jack Cooper AKA Ultimate Painting, have returned less than a year after releasing their self-titled debut. This time they’ve stripped things down a bit more, that gorgeous lo-fi feedback has been replaced by something far more powerful. Exquisite song writing.
After ten seconds of Green Lines you realise you’re in for a smooth ride. Kodiak’s carefree and buoyant guitar and drum combo is the musical equivalent of driving to the beach in the early morning, as the slowly warming sun and cool breeze hit your face through the open window. The day is full of unlimited possibilities, but one thing is certain, it’ll be fun. Lead single (I’ve Got The) Sectioned Blues follows a similar blueprint, and delivers a perky jovial rhythm that delivers a similar vibe to Kodiak. Two From the Vault with its laconic guitar riffs and lackadaisical drumming is the perfect soundtrack to any BBQ. Stand out track Woken By Noises sounds like a re-working of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. Jaunty guitar and driving drums back up an engaging and charming story.
Green Lanes is a great example of laidback indie rock; which ranks up there with the plethora of classic indie folk rock like the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, Lupen Crooks’ British Folk Tales and Flying Burrito Brother’s Burrito Deluxe. The only real downside is that there is hardly any change in texture and tempo, so after about six or seven songs Green Lanes starts to drag a bit. The quality of song writing doesn’t drop, it’s just that after twenty minutes of listening to the same thing, it starts to get samey, until Woken By Noises, that changes gear slightly.
That being said, Green Lanes is a strong album that showcases not just the dextrous playing of Hoare and Cooper, but their ability as storytellers. There are a few motifs that remind you of Courtney Barnett’s all conquering debut, but not in a bad way, or enough to make you change records. Each of the twelve tracks that make up Green Lanes, are filled with vivid and rich language that it’s nigh on impossible not to be swept up with Ultimate Painting’s charm.