Music, Print, Reviews August 13, 2015

Top Tunes Thursday: Ultimate Painting —Green Lanes

by Clark Lamson



One of my favorite authors once said “Life is mostly just learning how to lose,” and while this was said in the context of an intergalactic conflict, I think the adage holds true for music as well. Unless you’re some sort of hyper talented virtuoso, a large chunk of your efforts will end with a bitter taste in your mouth. But, if you’re smart, you build on what’s come before you, to make what comes after even better. This (without the clumsy metaphor) is the story of Jack Cooper and James Hoare. Formerly of the bands Mazes and Veronica Falls, respectively, the gentlemen became fast friends when their bands went on tour with each other, Mazes opening for VF. After bonding over musical tastes, as well as those of film and television, the pair began jamming together. It didn’t take long for a friendship to become a partnership, and it would be named Ultimate Painting.

This week, the London duo have released the sequel to their self titled debut. Titled G​reen Lanes,​the record is a slightly more fresh eyed take on the moody squalor of Ultimate Painting. The group is a perfect marriage of elements from both bands. The starry swoon of Veronica Falls meld sweetly with the crisped dry notes and simple beats of Mazes. While their first record personified the union, this one feels a little less rusty, a little more lived in, like an old, comfy sweater.

Green Lanes​is an album lead by its guitars, but in every song, it takes a new form. Four tracks in, “The Ocean” gives is sad and salty licks and a chugging bassline that brings Prinzhorn Dance Academy to mind. It smoulders like dying coals on a beach bonfire, and represents the best of the band’s moodier musings. There’s an inherent melancholy in most of the tracks, that is saved by the equally present and equally beautiful melodic textures. Though a first listen might have you thinking the duo only listens to The Beatles and Weezer, I suspect more basis is in early soul music. Tracks like “Sweet Chris” posses the same pleading that you might here in a James Brown ballad, but in finer doses. It’s controlled, but not strangled. “(I’ve Got The) Sanctioned Blues” is a dusky train­squatters jive and serves only to highlight the guitar work, so full of love and nostalgia, but also fixed on the future.

Though this is only the second record from the combined forces of Cooper and Hoare, the music feels as if the two have been playing and creating together for longer than a measly two records would suggest. G​reen Lanes​plays like the newest addition to a robust and familiar discography, as if you’re listening to the garage band that grew up down the street from you. It’s friendly, easy even, but never dull. G​reen Lanes g​et’s me excited to see what’s still to come from Ultimate Painting. The band is currently on tour across the UK. You can find the band on their FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr pages, as well as on their Trouble In Mind Records artist’s page.


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