Ulysses - 'Law and Order' (Black Glove Recordings) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonathon Kardasz   
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 03:00

Ulysseslawcover300My favourite thing about this album is that Ulysses have managed to distil all of the bloody fabulous music that I grew up listening to in my formative years into one 47 minute musicgasm. So coming of age musically from the late sixties to the mid-seventies it’s fabulous to hear glam stomp, psyche experimentation, prog absurdity (meant as a compliment), crunching rawk riffs and West Coast harmonies all drenched in pop nous and delivered with committed punk brevity. Fear not if you’re a young ‘un or person of middle age rather than a wrinkled old fart like me, because the whole thing is delivered with a hugely contemporary production punch and packed with ear worm choruses. The finished product is all the more remarkable given the hassle the guys had getting the thing in to the market (read all about it here).

 

The title track opens the recording – leading with its chorus delivered in a catchy clap along style before thundering into life as the verses rapidly pound their way back and forth around the chorus. This shows the band at their best from the off: hefty yet nimble riffs, fret melting solo and bonkers lyrics that make perfect sense (leather gloves, the BBC, KGB and CIA naturally feature). The song has a beautiful conga led acapella ending and by the way is accompanied by a hilarious video that successfully delivers an episode of the Sweeney produced by the Goodies.

 

 

From here on in it’s a breakneck rush of tunes, all of which are of such quality that the album feels like a singles collection rather than a few killers tunes padded out with album filler. Picking out individual songs is difficult as they all appeal in so many ways. 'Dirty Weekend' is a sleazy Glitter Band stomp with an irresistibly smutty slide solo and chock-a-block with Carry On style single entendres; its 10cc backing vocals culminating (or more accurately climaxing) with a space (porn) rock coda. 'Mary Jane' opens with a riff that is pure Quo – frantic four rather than festive five natch – swerves into a psyche breakdown before reverting to heads down, no nonsense mindless boogie. And then goes all psyche again. There are at least three different songs fighting for your attention in here but the result is remarkably homogenous cut delivered with panache. 'Smiling' is the most overtly seventies tune, channelling Mungo Jerry with an infectious bass groove; meanwhile 'Typical Scorpio' is the catchiest song about Satanism and ice cream you’ll hear all year and 'C’Mon This City’s Gone' is a balls-out cow bell-driven rocker that you know is gonna blow up the live set with a glorious solo and custom built crowd participation breakdown leading in to its headbanging crescendo.

 

 

'How Long?' somehow manages to splice David Essex’s 'Rock On' with weapons grade riffola, a fret melting solo and a time change that pounds away like Sweet on a cocktail of angel dust and steroids as the song reaches its apocalyptic crescendo. 'Crazy Horse' is a love song containing a phased Sgt Pepper centre wrapped snugly in a riff of considerable heft. Meanwhile 'Song That Has to be Sung' is a gorgeously schizophrenic conga confection with flutes and self-referential lyrics and a delightful dual vocal that alternates between trippy and menacing before culminating in an enormous monster wigout and a guitar solo just this side of out of control as the song wides down with more sublime harmonies and an elegiac solo. 'Lady' too picks up on the menacing vocals, with a crunching wah-wah solo leading in to more harmonies and a potty mouthed crescendo (“I want my lover in a coffin, if it’s rockin’ don’t come knockin’ – I’ll drain her ‘til her eyes pop out her fucking head”). Well, the tune does inform us that there’s a woman for every man in every dungeon in Japan. 'Yellow Sunshine #1' is quite overtly a tambourine-driven sixties style cut but its sister song, 'Yellow Sunshine #2', channels Santana in a joyfully summery lolloping romp. By the way it’s not just about the guitars and the thunderous rhythm section, the vocals are really top notch throughout – West Coast harmonies par excellence.

 

Ah, I now see that I have picked out every song – but it’s that kind of an album, catchy as fuck.

 

The whole LP is packaged in a nicely retro digipak that is crying out to be reissued in a deluxe vinyl version and really does warrant yer hard earned cash. If approved image lrg 2013it had it had been released at the height of Britpop it would have stormed the charts and owned the playlists, but that was then and this is now. Releasing records ain’t what it used to be and great bands like this need all the support they can get so what you can do right now is support Ulysses and all the other great bands the fashion police and glossy monthly mags ignore. You know you want to, dontcha.

 

https://www.facebook.com/ulyssesgb/

 

M8Dolls

 

To pick up your copy of 'Law And Order' - CLICK HERE