“Mountains are falling / Oceans are rising” Ulysses Wulf front man Yule sings on “The Mountains Are Falling” the cataclysmic lead track from Like The Present, the debut record from the Melbourne by way of New Zealand trio rounded out by bassist Vinny King and drummer Christian Lee. These metaphorical words serve as an apocalyptic backdrop to the album’s catalysts. Yule began writing Like the Present in the midst of personal and professional turmoil in his life. He had quit his job as a lawyer to help defend a family member in a case against the government. What it taught him was what a lot of people who have ever tried to fight against the government have found, which is that the institutions that were set in place to help out the average citizen were of little to no help because they were either underfunded or just a complete sham. The record’s title Like the Present” Yule stated that it is “a reference to a current dystopia, in contrast to the futuristic ones we are usually presented with.”
A move to Melbourne gave Yule a new perspective on things and a chance to write about his feelings with a little distance between the place where they occurred and where he was living as he began to write the record. And though this distance probably granted him a sense of relief, one still hears and feels the angst and pain come through on each of the five passionate songs on Like the Present.
“The Mountains are Falling” is an electro-tinged beast of a rock song with tribal styled beats, face slapping bass and in-your-face vocals. The song bangs and crashes like waves against the rocks during a violent storm. This is followed up by the thick chunks of groovy rock n’ roll on the instantly catchy “Tenderkill.” The sinisterly poppy piano and guitar rock driven “Digging in the Basement” is reminiscent of the jangly power pop so well played by Franz Ferdinand. The band then takes an angry and gritty psych-rock trip on “Last to Leave” which sounds like an even angrier take (if you can believe that) on Iron Butterfly’s "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," before ending on a gloriously electronic and somewhat hopeful note with “A Knickel.”
What makes Like the Present such a brilliant record is that nothing is held back. On every song every last bit of raw emotion is squeezed out, and each one of its subjects get the lyrical tongue lashing they deserve. But it is also the way that Ulysses Wulf holds it together musically too, never letting the anger to allow the songs to get away from them, just letting them become noise, they ensure there is structure in their compositions. The best art is sometimes that which is born out of pure pain and frustration. And though pain and frustration is something everyone must deal with from time to time in their life, Like the Present is a remarkable example of what can come of it after.
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