As a certain Wu-Tang banger would say, anyone can grip a fookin' spiked bat and club someone over the fookin' head with it until they're covered in fookin' brains. But what fun is that? Ultra Dolphins would rather stray from the metal map, traversing ill-advised shortcuts full of hairball twists and turns, crossing creak-y, rickety bridges, asking muck-faced local yokels like Daniel Striped Tiger and Le Joshua for directions, and submerging their vehicle of expression neck-high in murky bo(n)gwater. If it sounds messy, it's because it is; sometimes, however, you've got to cut through the forest if you want to 'feel the burn.'
And when's the last time you heard multiple piano solos/accompaniment on an album sluggish with screams? When's the last time a hardcore band opened an album with an accordian solo? When's the last time you had a Clark Bar? All important questions, all answered within Mar's spin cycle of tumbling, red-hot grooves, moods and hues (except the Clark Bar thing, that's yer own trip). Somehow, some way, Ultra Dolphins throw their influences in a blender without the whole concoction exploding all over their faces and hands.
Take "Matthew O'Connor," for example. Darting from the gate on the rump of a galloping bass line and an almost No Means No slant, the track sluffs through two unremarkeable verses before gunning the engine, skidding, and peeling ass through a lunging section reminiscent of a Black Mountain power riff contorted and distorted and crafted to kill rather than maim. All the while, singers Tim Morris and Nate Rappole play off the chaos without becoming its foil; they affect a contrived hardcore style — shrieking, singing, half-talking/ranting/chanting — in just the right way, stepping to the forefront when they need to while also letting the fracas take full precedence on sprawling instrumental tracks like "The Great Neurasthenic."
You'll have to hear it yourself though; describing how well many of the delicately — a strange word to use for such a brutal band, but whatevs — placed aesthetic choices fit together is difficult without having audio and visual models to assist in the process. Just know that you'll be hearing from this band in the future if Mar is any indication, and that the Miami Dolphins proved pretty Ultra themselves by ending the Bears' undefeated season this last week. [Spanish accent]: "Jhey, now we jhafe two Ultra Dolpheens! You like dat righeet?"
1. Mar2. Town Goat3. William’s Nightmare4. Matthew O’Connor5. Ship to Shore6. The Great Neurasthenic7. If You Will8. Lunge9. Winged Babblar10. One, Two, Three, Four11. Workhorse12. Sickman Outside