Montreal’s Ultrathin have been hammering out their distinct take on psychedelic punk for more than a few years now. A single, three tapes, a series of killer shows with bands like Red Mass, Soupcans and Tyvek; Ultrathin hasn’t been idle. But now, with their debut LP courtesy of Bruised Tongue, the ‘thin have finally broken the surface. Ultrathin is stepping towards the light, so to speak, and have dropped one of the year’s finest displays of frustrated punk and bad-acid psych.
Opener “White Walls” establishes the Ultrathin template – head-down rhythmic drive led by drummer Matthew Wilson as bassist Mark Fragua’s desperate vocals fight to be heard above Shaun Anderson’s corrosive guitar mangling. “Got A Feeling” focuses these elements into a blistering punk attack. “I Wanna Know” transitions effortlessly from mid-tempo burn to a ride off into the sunset, sparks trailing everywhere. I’m sure you can figure out what “Scum With A Badge” is about; ditto for “Sick of Living” which finds an echo on a savage cover of the Pagans’ “Real World.” “Whac-A-Mole” shows off Ultrathin’s snotty garage roots, which feels almost pleasant after the annihilating meltdown of “Out From the Cold.” In case you still had any doubts, “In My Mind” will erase them, closing out the album with a Spacemen 3-like intensity.
There are only 238 copies of this excellent LP out there, so don’t sleep on what is surely to be a hidden gem of this year of our Lord, 2014. – Erick Bradshaw