Under - Slick
Horrible, nasty and slimy heavy psych rock that you can’t help but adore
Words: Phil Weller
Stockport band Under’s hybrid, Frankensteinian brand of noise making has always been deliciously strange. From psychotic, Primus inspired episodes to dark and eerier doom laden passages, the band has always amalgamated a flavoursome yet contrasting palette of ingredients to sew devilishly into their music and debut full length Slick represents the latest step in this band’s unnervingly twisted evolution.
Opener Mirth Of The Crowds would make for a perfect doom standard were it not for its bedevilment and freakish skits through odd time signatures. Instead they turn it into a nightmarish introduction that sucks you into its depths before the restrained, calculated Melvins worship of Innards takes over. Big, haunted vocal harmonies dominate the song’s early moments before they build up to slow but maniacal crescendo. By this point, they are staking their claim to be the rightful successors of Swans amid their impending demise.
The production, the plethora of finely tuned guitar tones and the pinpoint vocal deliverance on this record shows a band growing in confidence, belief and charisma. It is a joy to hear them sounding this accomplished.
Tip Creature starts off like a downtrodden rendition of Black Hole Sun, juxtaposing the slow, snarling and regurgitating riff work that weaves in and out of the foray throughout. Home is a slimy monster of a song, typically weird but punchy and, quite frankly enormous sounding; they come across here like all your favourite 90s bands during some acid tainted orgy.
If that is the case, then penultimate track Worst To Come is the soundtrack to your comedown. Sluggish, bloated and hanging yet iced with some peculiarly beautiful vocal melodies. It’s like that one girl (or boy) that, while you know isn’t attractive, you can’t help but have a weird crush on. And that, on the whole, is the perfect metaphor for this band. This isn’t a record you run home to introduce to your parents to (unless you get some sick sadistic kick off of their disapproval). Instead, it is the record that you gleefully blast out when they’re not around. A deep, dark secret and one of Manchester’s finest.
Spread the word.
Sick is out now via APF Records