Friday, March 02, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 256 - Ultra Vivid Scene - Rev

Album - Rev
Artist – Ultra Vivid Scene
Key Players – Julius Klepacz – drums. Jack Daley – bass. Kurt Ralske – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Kurt Ralske, Fred Maher

Release Date – October 19, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I did the old “stare” at the cd racks and said “oh here is one”.

Overview - Personally I stumbled upon the band on college radio. I was taking classes at a Community College and was driving back home listening to WZBC, which is Boston College's radio station. I had about a 20 minute window on my ride where I'd get the signal so I had to be sure to have a pen handy and hope the DJ would tell me about the band(s) played. I heard “Mercy Seat” (from their debut) and had to track down the cd. My friends were exposed to it soon after I got it and all seemed to like it more than the next. This was the third and final album from the New York based band.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 9 track 50+ minute album starts with “Candida”. What stands out right away is the prominent bass line. Matthew Sweet is the guest bass player on the track. Ralske plays acoustic guitars and has a quite soothing voice. Klepacz and Sweet really seem to find a groove with each other as the bass and percussive instruments really stand out on this quirky pop rocker. “Cut-Throat” has a lone guitar and percussive shakers at the start. The electric guitar then phases up and Daley finds a nice pocket for the bass. Ralske has a unique vocal style. It can be viewed as a little whiny at times, but it fits the mood with this longer notes and he sings in a light baritone. This track finds a bit more of the swirling guitars and it gets a touch of the conga drums as well. Ralske once again takes right to the acoustic guitar as “Mirror to Mirror” begins. Klepacz has a simple drum portion but Daley once again seems to find a nice tight bass line. Ralske sticks with the acoustic guitar on the verses where on other tracks we get the electric, either as ambiance or as a lead. There is a short burst after the second verse, but it is a quick and dirty “solo” before coming back to the acoustic guitar. Klepacz gets to take off some and has some fun beating on his drum kit and the band tries to follow suit, and does so very well. “The Portion of Delight” has a very bright guitar sound (Rickenbacker perhaps?) The bass and drums are tight, but seem to be okay with the slower tempo. It feels a little “plodding” but he vocals sound great, just the right bend it pitch. Ralske finds some decent range but the over all “sound” of the song is big, which is awesome. There is a good solid long session of instrumental jam that is great. The bass and guitar are really subtle on the intro to “Thief's Love Song”. After a few moments Ralske gets heavier on the strings, but its more single chords. The song is on the slower tempo side of things with a slow drum line. Matthew Sweet returns to the bass on “How Sweet” a track that seems to phase between headphone speakers for a trippy experience. The bass line is very strong and there is more work on the backing vocals. The song has more of a verse/chorus/verse vibe keeping tightly focused. Ralske has a long guitar solo, but still it is kept brief. It actually has a funky feel too it after the solo with the percussive instruments playing off the guitars.. The guitars have a deep sound to them at the start of “Medicating Angels”. The bass then takes over as the lone instrument, with a little flutter from the guitars. It is a quiet, slow to get going, type track. As the song gets rolling, after close to 2 minutes, the bass line again is really the stand out instrument. It has just the right amount of compression and the band finds their Jesus and Mary Chain influence brought right up with a wild fuzzy guitar rumble to the thundering drum work from Klepacz. If there ever was a “single” from this record it would be found in the track “Blood and Thunder”. A lone guitar quivers before the bass joins. The tambourine slaps, the drums start to rumble. It is a slower, but big build up and at the 0:58 second mark it all comes together. This is the SHIT folks. The drums and guitar are perfect. This is 90's alternative music. The music just rules. When Ralske starts to sing everyone cools down and he sings over a predominate drum rumble but the “whacka/chaka” sound off the guitar that brings it all together just rules. Just watch the darn clip..crank'll get it. The guitar solo owns too. One of the finest songs of the early 90's. A scratchy record sound is heard as the album closer “This is the Way” is played. The recording almost sounds as if it is a recording of a recording. Strings and guitar accompany Ralske. The song keeps this sound for the duration.

Where are they now?Ralske has gone on to do solo work, and has also produced albums for such artists as Rasputina, Ivy and Charles Douglas. His last known musical endeavor was the solo release in 2001 Amor 0 + 01. Since that time, Ralske has achieved acclaim as a visual artist

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I was pretty sure I saw the band twice, but I'll need some buddies of mine that might read this to help confirm. My one “for sure” moment with them was when they opened for Ian McCulloch at the Living Room in Providence. It may have been on tour for this record, but I could be off. My gut tells me their opening slot was part of the debut album, but I'd need to search the inter webs. According to the bands Wiki page there was not ever a lot of touring done by the band so I guess I was lucky. For this album alone they only did one month of US tour dates.

FDF Overall Take – Its not a bad record, but a little erratic. I think where its good its VERY good but there are a few too many “ehh” moments. Blood and Thunder make the entire cd worth it though.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The album is out of print, but you can track down sellers of used copies on


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