Organ Thing of The Day – Well we have been sitting on this rather beautiful new UTO album, Touch The Lock, for a couple of weeks or more now – hey, we’ve been busy, there’s a backlog of music here, we’re busy with art shows and radio shows and Mixtapes and more. This delicious new album has featured on recent Other Rock Shows as well as on the playlist that accompanies the Mixtape exhibition that opened last night, and we have featured it on these pages already. Today, Uto’s label, InFiné, a label we’re rather enjoying at the moment, have released a new video to go with À La Nage, a track from the just released new album.
“À La Nage, the second part of ‘Poetic Saga’, is an ode to group life, to the beauty of summer, and of course to friendship. Through the eyes of a fictitious friend, we first see a couple, Ney and Emile, taking care of each other and exploring the world. The viewer is introduced to various characters in their group of friends, each of whom is free to go about their business. Through a sequence of energetic movements, the eye goes on its way and asks for his friends to be with him, to which they all respond with a multitude of smiles and a round of bizarre joy. If we are all together, we might as well celebrate!”
We have been back to the album on a daily basis recently, it is rather delicious, it does have a way of revealing more with every play and every day…
“UTO are a duo from Paris who sound like they might be from outer space. Chic and alien, rhythm-centric yet diaphanous and ghostly, they are a group that thrive on contrasts and embrace paradoxes. Described variously as witchpop, dreampop and trip hop, they mine a rich seam of 90’s British music from the peripheries, with added je ne sais quoi. Debut album Touch The Lock ́sees them present to the world their singular vision for the first time. It’s an album grounded in reality that communes with hyperreality, unlocking the box where hard-to-reach emotions and thoughts often lay dormant and untapped”.
Don’t really hear anything obvious enough to just put in to a pigeonhole, this isn’t “witchpop” or “dreampop” or indeed trip hop and I’m really not hearing the “British music from the peripheries” the press release talks of. Actually, from here in our East London bunker, it sounds exotically French.
Touch The Lock is seductive, it sounds clever, it sounds like perfect pop music, very clever pop music – adventurous, challenging, alive, fresh, new, intriguing. It sounds like that intriguing French girl you meet at an art gallery or that painter who demands you look a little closer at the things that at first appear simple. There’s a closing song on here, Full Presence, that might just be the song of this year, a song that starts like it intends to quietly leave us feeling content with everything we’ve already heard on this fine fine album, until that moment some two minutes and twenty seconds in when it just blossoms and lifts everything in such a perfectly positive way – what a glorious end to an album
Délaisse sets the pace (or the scene or the mood) as it opens the album with a fluttery skip and an intriguingly enticing soft-focus vocal, before the Plaid-like beat of Row Paddle kicks in as a second bite – Plaid or maybe Battles? Battles if Battles were a mysterious band from Paris. Heavy Metal is the least heavy metal thing ever, like a flower breaking the asphalt, powerfully delicate, strength in that fragility, in that warmth, the power of it. Each piece of music revealing something slightly different, a hint of a different flavour, a flavour that’s never at odds with the previous mouthful you delighted in. And yes, every song demands attention, Touch The Lock is very much one whole thing though, one gloriously united piece of work, most definitely a body, an album, a glorious album.
À La Nage itself is probably as conventional as UTO get, as ‘normal’ if you like, elsewhere the album does get more experimental or dreamy, very dreamy, Elisa is beautifully dreamy, never as simple as a box labelled ‘dreampop’ though, far far more than just that. Hey look, we’ve had this album two or three weeks now, we’ve just been enjoying it way way too much to burden ourselves with the task of reviewing it. I can’t say it enough, a glorious album, an utter joy, wonderfully French. (sw)
You can hear (and buy) the whole album on Bandcamp right now