The Past Comes Alive
What sort of band starts by playing melodic black metal, segues into symphonic-avant-garde-electro-hip-hop-anything, and finally ends up with an album of 1960’s psychedelic rock covers? “No such band exists” would be the logical answer, but it would also be wrong. One group, Norway’s own Ulver, has achieved such a feat with the release of their newest LP, Childhood’s End, a collection of obscure covers from obscure bands that somehow melds with Ulver’s own unique sound perfectly.
Opener “Bracelets Of Fingers” by the Pretty Things is a lush, whimsical romp through storybook imagery, while “The Trap” by the Bonniwell Music Machine evokes the puffy man-blouses and carefree spirit of the decade with its Renaissance riffs. Generally, the covers are all faithful to their source, with a few exceptions. “66-5-4-3-2-1” by the Troggs is given a 1980’s electro-rock feel with its dark vocal harmonies, and “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes gets a touch of surf rock and New Wave mixed in. Finally, closer “Where Is Yesterday” by United States Of America is an even gloomier take on the original, enhanced by extra-thick vocal arrangements and cavernous reverb.
Ulver’s own music defies categorization and alarms the establishment, much as the bands they pay tribute to did 50 years ago, so Childhood’s End is certainly an apt collection. Fans of Ulver’s complete career will want to check this out, as will fans of psychedelic rock. Fans of Ulver’s black metal days or those looking for a metal record will not find what they seek here, but if you appreciate a band that takes chances and won’t stay in one spot, Ulver is for you.