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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to…The Armed, Ultrapop November 27, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Ultrapop. Great name for an album.

A while back Bob Mould did one of those ‘what’s in my record bag’ shows on YouTube and he mentioned The Armed and their album Ultrapop as making music that was, in its own way, as ground-breaking as that of My Bloody Valentine. Always loved Mould so off I went to listen to the album, which is The Armed’s third or thereabouts.

They throw everything into the mix, the first ten seconds of the album, and the title track, has a high-pitched frequency, sampled sounds, layered vocals and twinkling keyboards, and when the guitars and feedback cut in at the 30 second part along with treated vocals it makes a certain sort of sense. There’s an interesting unwillingness to prettify the music which works at times and others makes me wonder whether a certain restraint wouldn’t go amiss. Overall the sonic assault is relentless. Metal/punk drums hammer away in counterpoint to actually quite lovely melodies – as with ALL FUTURES (which has a certain political subtext, or so it seems). The sheer density of the music makes for a space in which they shine – MASUNAGA VAPORS is a good example of that, as well as hinting at an almost prog-sensibility. But when they hold back – at least by their standards, as with AN ITERATION, it can be oddly powerful. But then equally when they let rip as with BIG SHELL and its shouted female vocals it’s quite a maelstrom of sound. And there’s more than a hint of shoegaze in there, as with REAL FOLK BLUES – but shoegaze sped and amped up.

As to who The Armed are, they appear to be a collective and tend to conceal their identities behind various pranks and stunts. None of which has done them the slightest bit of harm.

To some degree there’s a commonality with Fucked Up though the latter’s musical palette seems somehow broader, and I prefer Chrome Hoof’s efforts to bind pop and rock and metal and electronica and pretty much everything together. And it’s impossible not to hear echoes of Sonic Youth in there too. But The Armed are on to something and it will be fascinating to see where they go next.







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