Ulrika Spacek


Back from a tour of Europe, Reading’s Ulrika Spacek are back in Manchester with a second album under their belts, Modern English Decoration. A more polished article than their first album – guitars are beautifully woven together with gentle vocals, similar to Deerhunter, with gritty guitars and relentlessly addictive beats.

White noise is projected onto their faces as they jam to get the sound just right. A trippy version of ‘Silvertonic’ is an early highlight, along with a slower version of ‘Saw A Habit Forming’. Rhys’ lyrics unfortunately get lost in the swirling of guitars, but their willingness to experiment with extended and slightly altered versions of the album tracks goes a long way to compensate.

At times, the set becomes disjointed – the first time we hear the keys is a shock to the system and quieter moments of songs sound more like a breakdown of communication, rather than an intentional change of mood. An astoundingly fresh and cutting guitar effect during the encore makes me wish the rest of the instruments had sounded this good all along.

Drummer Callum Brown impresses noticeably during the jam segments, steadily building at the right times and allowing the guitars to soar, keeping the healthy crowd moving, or blissfully listening with eyes closed. ‘Full Of Men’ and ‘Mimi Pretend’ impress the most – they just wash over you, and benefit greatly from being amplified. Rhythmic guitars complement each other perfectly with the simple beats, and the slurred 90’s vocals add colour and mood to the simple, yet interesting arrangement.

Their final tune continues for some time as they experiment with their effects pedals and tease feedback from the amps. Callum orchestrates the tension and release, making sure they finish in exhilarating fashion, to enthusiastic applause.

Ulrika Spacek seem to have very much discovered their own style on this new album – strong songwriting and intelligent harmonies combine in beautifully crafted tunes that have gathered a passionate following. They’re heading in a direction that makes me, and it seems many others, want to tag along for the ride.

Ulrika Spacek: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.