Sunday, March 11, 2018

This Bliss: A Few Words About 2 Early Releases From Ut Now Available On Bandcamp

The band Ut never quite received the acclaim they so richly deserved in the mid-Eighties. I recall the band being mentioned in the same breath as Band of Susans a few times. I suppose a lazy writer saw the 3 women in Ut -- Sally Young, Jacqui Ham, and Nina Canal -- and thought that the Band of Susans, with multiple female members, was doing something similar but, truthfully, Band of Susans were more interested in polishing the sharp edges of guitar-guided rock, while Ut were intent on tearing down everything to its brutal roots. What's here in these early Ut recordings from 1985, the first Ut EP and the Confidential 12-inch, both recently unearthed for Bandcamp, is reductive and knowingly primitive. These proto-songs seem positively cathartic still, even now in 2018.

On the Ut EP (1985), songs "This Bliss" and "New Colour" assault the senses with a simplistic use of instrumentation, and a Shaggs-like primitivism that suggests that the 3 members of Ut were wisely shredding every rock-and-roll convention they could as they crafted their own unique form of music. "Sham Shack" is more accessible by a hair, prefiguring the sort of tunes that bands like The Gossip and Priests would crank out decades later. Elsewhere, the longer "Confidential" from the Confidential EP (1985) suggests a journey to a similar musical place as the one explored on early albums from scene-contemporaries Sonic Youth, while the wonderfully discordant "Bedouin" marries a Slits-like sense of rhythmic dis-harmony with the choppy chords of a Gang of Four single. Confidential (1985) closes with "Tell It", the closest this trio ever came to sounding like very early Joy Division, the guitars echoing up from some dark, cavernous place, and the vocals harbingers of some sort of sense of dislocation.

I surely hope that more Ut releases are offered up on Bandcamp or elsewhere as the music of this band remains so revolutionary that it's hard to believe that the group's output hasn't been rediscovered by more waves of astute listeners in this century. Brutally simplistic and thoroughly invigorating, the post-punk of Ut remains the sound of glorious chaos delivered in spiky slices.

More details on the band's early EP releases, and on the band themselves via their official website.

[Photo: Ut's Bandcamp page, uncredited]