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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Record Review - Ulver

Childhood’s End

Kscope Records CD/LP

Ulver are a band I’ve always meant to listen to but never quite got round to it. A cursory glance at their discography shows they’ve covered ground all the way from black metal to symphonic rock and even dark ambient sounds. This album is a selection of ‘60s psych covers ranging from the Left Banke to the Music Emporium and the Beau Brummels.

If you’re expecting something heavy from this former metal band than think again – mostly this is dark pop-psych with lush production and slightly menacing vocals from Kristoffer Rygg. The only rocky moments on the album are the covers of the Troggs’ ‘66-5-4-3-2-1’ and the 13th Floor Elevators’ ‘Street Song’. Mostly this is well crafted and executed stuff, though shot through with a midnight black heart.

The tracks have obviously been carefully chosen – all linking to a general theme of innocence lost – no more finely illustrated than on the covers of Gandalf’s ‘Can You Travel in the Dark Alone’ or the Pretty Things’ ‘Bracelets of Fingers’. However, the whole album just feels a little unnecessary. None of the covers surpass the originals and though the album is enjoyable I question if it has a lot of repay value. And talking of unnecessary did we really need the photo of Vietnam napalm victim Phan Thi Kim Phuc on the cover?

Austin Matthews

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