Under - First Attempt
It’s the day of (the) Melvins in Manchester. I’m fucking well excited. Everyone’s fucking well excited, my Facebook feed is just full of people pissing themselves in anticipation. And so it’s apt that, on today of all days, Stockport freaks Under give me the heads up on the release of their debut album, First Attempt.
At times, this could be Melvins thanks in part to its disjointed doom jams and bawling vocals. They create similar emotions and punctuate them with grinding guitars and slow, almost lackadaisical drums fills that sound like someone falling down the stairs. It’s all a little unkempt and ominous, delightful dingy and gloriously gruff.
But that’s not to say that this is merely one dimensional Melvins worship and perhaps, with my mindset focussed on the upcoming gig that evening, those similarities jumped out at me like a mugger down a dark alley. But as time wears on – I’m finishing this review a good week or so after Melvins day – you’ll discover more nuances and influences peppered throughout this record. It’s full of surprises and has plenty to offer in that respect.
Much of their song writing embodies a progressive way of thinking, placing themselves outside the proverbial box all the while regurgitating tones that are as creepy and perturbed as they are grazing. Trading Tokens fittingly trades blows between towering doom riffs and genteel, hiding-in-the-shadows moments of quiet. It comes together perfectly with gang vocals and a solid, punchy yet well rounded guitar tone. Aether’s bassline intro slithers like a slower, more haunting version of Alice In Chain’s Would?, those Melvins type, haughty vocals wrestling above it while an odd little motif. Think very early Soundgarden weaving in and out of the mix.
They say first impressions are everything. Fuck that up and you’re pretty much done for. But with First Attempt, Under have justified the burgeoning interest in what they’re doing. They may be a new band, but they already sound well formed, well established.
It’s a contorted, monstrous debut that should see cement a stronger foothold in the local scene and beyond. The EP is available as a digital download for only £2.
Words: Phil Weller