Ultimate Painting Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

December 6th, 2016

Ultimate Painting’s show at The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday is part of the fast-rising band’s sixth tour of the United States—they’re hooked and so are we, and why not? Dusk (stream it below), the English duo’s third full-length album, released earlier this fall, firms up Ultimate Painting’s credentials as artisans of tunefully fractured pop and indie rock. (Or is that fractiously tuneful?) It’s subversive but not overcomplicated, chewable if not too smooth, subdued but not quiet. The Velvet Underground come up often as a descriptive association, as do a multitude of other bands, from the Byrds to Television. All of which is to say that Jack Cooper (formerly of Mazes) and James Hoare (formerly of Veronica Falls) are established craftsmen of not-overdone but hard-to-pin-down pop statements, some of which come grinded out (the Dusk closer, “I Can’t Run Anymore,” being a prime example), and some of which hide pointed edges in soft acoustics (“I’m Set Free”). You’d call them dreamy only if you’re feeling lazy. They’re dreamy the way the Velvets were contemplative. “I think we were hoping to make something more cohesive,” Cooper recently told Track Record about Dusk. “Something that worked more as an album rather than a collection of songs.… It’s difficult to describe the sounds and frequencies that we both respond to but stylistically, we’re pushing for more space.” Get to this Bowery show. They’re billing it as their biggest-ever U.S. appearance, but you can feel free to look at it as the last time you’ll see them in a room this small. And as an added bonus, Juan Wauters and EZTV open the show. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson