Californian four-piece Ultra Q make a joyous return with alternative EP ‘Get Yourself A Friend’. Three years since their introductory EP ‘We’re Starting To Get Along,’ and a year on since their debut studio album ‘In A Cave In A Video Game’, this new project finds Ultra Q solidifying their pop-edged sound. Immersing themselves in soaring guitar work, assertive spoken word, and colossal hooks, the group have accumulated their last three projects into a well-rehearsed collection of bangers across this six-track EP.
Opening with up-tempo ‘Pupkin,’ this single immediately welcomes for an infectious listen: it’s joyous, nostalgic, and swirling in psychedelic riffs. Across the introduction Ultra Q have filled ‘Pupkin’ with never-ending layers, as you escape the business half-way through with a nonchalant intermission of sombre guitar plucks and bounce right back into a gigantic chorus. ‘Pupkin,’ is an adrenalin-driven track, bound to have you yearning for warmer, and brighter days -a great introduction with an even greater optimistic appeal.
Following is the alluring ‘It’s Permanent’, the group weaving in grungy tendencies, as they play around with sturdy bass plucks, shattering riffs, and edging spoken word vocals from frontman Jakob Armstrong. As you enter the pre-chorus, you’re welcomed with a taster of Armstrong’s singing, almost undistinguishable from his iconic Green Day, father – the genes run strong…
Working with re-recorded singles from 2019, ‘Get Yourself A Friend,’ documents a project of both pre and during lockdown life. Across the EP, the group have released music videos for both ‘Bowman,’ and ‘Handheld,’ and a hallucinatory visualiser for ‘It’s Permanent.’ The interchangeable delivery of each track on this project is what makes Ultra Q’s growth so easily distinguishable from their debut.
Punching with (what we’d describe as) a Bloc Party inspired opening is the jubilant ‘Bowman.’ Dropped as the introductory release off this EP, ‘Blowman’ is a high energised piece, accompanied with a discorded music video of a kid relentlessly chasing after something he is imaging. Matching the idiosyncratic disorientation of the music video with their edging guitar plucks, and militant drums ‘Bowman’ sees the group bring their pop-edged sound to life.
Contrasting, ‘Straight Jacket’ is the only ballad on the EP, and is a nice breakdown from the buoyancy of the previous three tracks, and sombre interval between shoegazy penultimate, ‘Handled’.
Whilst the group experiment with punky undertones across this EP, ‘Get Yourself A Friend,’ also sees them amplify their dynamic. Concluding with the heavy-hitting EP title track, ‘Get Yourself A Friend’ completes this chapter of Ultra Q with a bang. Armstrong’s vocals are drenched in militant hi-hats, soaring guitar and harmonised adlibs – it’s the perfect finale for six tracks of organised chaos.
Words: Laviea Thomas
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