Every so often, you get the impression during Ulrika Spacek‘s return to Glasgow quite that a healthy chunk of those in attendance would happily relive such a full on intense 70-minute period repeatedly on a loop of continuous nature.
The psychedelic lighting employed throughout coupled to abstract swirls of video stills in our small space may well eventually test some levels of endurance, but given so much time was spent with eyes closed to up above perhaps we may well just survive.
I suppose we might suggest making such an impression comes naturally to the band; after all it isn’t every day you witness such an attempt to cross pollinate shoegaze ripples with multiple layers of drone rock panoramas.
Irrespective of whatever tag category or otherwise people generate about Reading’s Ulrika Spacek it appears most unlikely such a description will do justice to a sound so wonderfully conceived, constructed and executed by the group this damp Monday night.
Not that anyone in attendance will care one little jot about tags and ripples as, full of distortion and cuts of sampled sound, the five-piece tear through ‘Silvertonic’ with the marching of the drums at least partially reinforced by those bouncing and nodding in the basement of The Hug and Pint; looking around comes with a realisation we are in the presence of more than mere musicians, but rather full on melodic composers of otherworldly soundscapes.
At other junctures of the set, such as on an extended take of ‘Full of Men’ we see ever energetic drummer Callum Brown take centre stage to this sprawling bombast, meanwhile guitars and pedals are suitably thrashed, keys somewhat left dropped in a haze of background drone, all the while maintaining that certain epic feel presented on most recent LP Modern English Decoration.
‘I Don’t Know’ is perhaps a pick of the bunch amongst both band themselves and adoring crowd, the richly layered subtleties of the track may well have been lost on some of the more inebriated among us, a piece which slowly builds to a fantastic climax with pounding drums complimenting motoric beats to reach a lengthy crashing surge.
Garnering more of a response from them plastic cup sipping types than anything else to date and it’s obvious everyone is now locked in to Ulrika Spacek mode.
Frontman Rhys Edwards goes on to thank The Hug and Pint’s basement several times towards the set’s conclusion, pausing briefly between relentless beats and jams.
At times it could be argued Edwards’ slightly foreboding vocals are lost in the melodic wash and waves, but when such a pulsating intensity is kept throughout such sacrifices are almost not even worthy of a mention.
Having previously caught the band support Slowdive some time ago it is fair to say Ulrika Spacek have shown tonight that previous performance accurately reflected a consistent accomplished standard.
Nuanced and expertly executed with no small amount showing in confidence one can only hope it isn’t too long before Edwards and co. need to thank a Glasgow audience again.
Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Allan Lewis