Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Upsidedown - Human Destination

For a moment, this CD from Portland, Oregon’s The Upsidedown leaves you wondering what exactly you’ve stuck into your CD player… it’s the opening of the second track (and first full number proper on this album), ‘If You Are Hell Girl’. It sounds The Blues Brothers attempting to play The Jesus & Mary Chain and on reflection tells you a little bit about what’s to come, because like the Mary Chain (who they’ve previously opened for) there’s a taste of familiar riffs strewn around these tracks, always nicely deviated with their own brand of carefully constructed and by turns elegant and energetic rock music.

Their first album, Trust Electricity, appeared way back in 2004, since when they’ve been gaining increased exposure with, aside from the Mary Chain, prestigious support slots alongside The Dandy Warhols and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Released last August, Human Destination is a thoroughly absorbing work, full of hazy and melancholy guitars and backing vocals that are supporting coarse, gritty lead vocals to create songs both sweet and sharp, like the dreamily beguiling ‘Umbrella (Laura Palmer)’. ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ drifts gently out of a soft electronics and guitar sequence into a soothingly slow number underpinned by a deliciously smooth background vocal. ‘Halo’, which follows it, is instantly reminiscent of BRMC’s first album and every bit good enough to be compared with that masterpiece.

Further in, ‘Ernestine’ has something of a ‘60s psychedelia about it, whilst ‘Number Twenty Nine’ shines through as a perfect pop song that trills and thrills and cries out to be played over and over again. ‘Something always comes along and turns in to something else’ they claim on this one… to me, they are very much heading in the right direction all on their own.

The Upsidedown Official Website
The Upsidedown Myspace
Beat The World Records

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