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Album Review: Ute - The Gambler EP

Oxford-based indie trio Ute will almost inevitably draw Radiohead comparisons whatever they do. Unfortunately, many of these comparisons will be unfavourable. Yes, Radiohead are an almost deity-like figure in many people’s music collection, but also because Ute have released a quite poor album.

In fact, for much of the album Ute sound more like Cursive than anything uniquely British. The quirky instrumentalism and the juxtaposition of breathy, wordy vocals and the piercing, sharp shrieks smacks of ‘The Ugly Organ’ - and countless other indie-rock bands. Only on the EP closer, “Bunker”, do Ute come anywhere close to resembling the Thom Yorke-esque vocals that one journalist described.

'Innocent Tailor' begins the EP with some off-kilter instrumentation and some almost spoken word vocals. With a sea-shanty/fairground-esque musical introduction at least Ute are trying something slightly different. I’m not going to beat around the bush however. I dislike this EP. It’s pretentious, and all hooks have been sacrificed for quirkiness. 'Brother' is the best song on the album because it forgoes the weirdness and instead is content to exist as a “song”. The vocals are clever and heartfelt, and when they are actually sung, as opposed to spoken, there is a quite haunting quality to them. 'Brother', is, unfortunately, atypical of the rest of the EP, and the folk sound that so seems to suit Ute is discarded for more abject alternativeness to finish the album.

A disappointing EP, with a glimpse of quality, though not enough to warrant going out of your way to pick it up.


'The Gambler' by Ute is available now through Alcopop Records.

Ute on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook.

'The Gambler' EP by Ute can be streamed here.

Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!