Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend 90s revisionism, part 3: Ultrasound

I first saw Ultrasound at a showcase for unsigned bands in about 1997. One of the other outfits on the bill was managed by the drummer from Dodgy, which was enough to recommend the Geordie oddballs by default, even before they'd played a note. They briefly became critical darlings, partly because their singer (Andrew 'Tiny' Wood) was very fat, and nobody wanted to be seen to be sizeist, but eventually their prog tendencies made them uncool, a sin compounded by the immense length (a triple on vinyl) of their sole album, Everything Picture (1999). Maybe they should have gone the Radiohead route, and identified a dance element within their meandering Floydian wibbles.

In this clip, Tiny seems to be auditioning for the lead role in The Sydney Greenstreet Story, although I think they were trying more for a Death In Venice effect. Good tune, though.

6 comments:

Charles Frith said...

Looks like a young Meatloaf.

I don't know who you are or what you do but baby when you're not around.... but a bit more whiny ;)

Shane Richmond said...

I loved Ultrasound's singles. They had lots of good b-sides too. Kurt Russell, for example, was too on-the-nose for a single but perfect as a b-side.

For some reason the album didn't really connect with me but I saw them play a great set at Reading in, I guess, 1998. I watched it with Saul from Nude records. He was convinced they were going to be stars and, for a bit anyway, I was too.

Del said...

Another vote for Kurt Russell! Just a wonderful song. The album was just too bloated and ridiculous for me. They'd started to believe their own hype, so it was a real disappointment. But Floodlit World was wonderful. A while back I wrote a suitably overblown review on amazon, as noone else had...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2N0OMBT2VXV86/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Tim Footman said...

Charles: But he is a round. Very round.

Shane: The album was just too ambitious and all over the place for a debut; they clearly followed Richey Manic's notion of making your first LP as if it's your only chance. Unfortunately, it was. But I always prefer brave failures to safe successes.

Tim Footman said...

Sorry, Del, missed you there.

Looks as if lots of people think they were Ultrasound's only fans...

Shane Richmond said...

The album has its moments, I guess. The point when Same Band chugs its way out of the preceding track is great and Aire and Calder is pretty good. Yet, with the exception of the singles, Can't Say No, One Plus One, I'll Show You Mine and Kurt Russell are better than anything on the album.

BTW, here's the line-up for Reading 98 - http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/collections/festival/search.asp?year=1998

That brings back some memories!