Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Calgary, AB-based indie rock/darkwave/New Wave/post-punk act Ultrviolence. And throughout their history, the band has developed a reputation for purposefully adhering to old-school DIY principles, for frequently ignoring the clichés and dictates of the music industry machine and perhaps most important, for a sound that draws from the likes of Joy Division, Interpol, Preoccupations and others.
Since the release of last year’s Black Sea EP, the band has gone through a massive lineup change with Nate Jespersen (vocals, bass), the sole founding and original member, collaborating with several members of Vancouver, BC-based indie rock band ACTORS on the project’s much-anticipated, Jason Corbett (of ACTORS) produced follow-up to Black Sea EP, Forty Knives EP. Forty Knives finds Jespersen and the new lineup building upon the moody, post-punk sound that first caught the attention of this site and the blogosphere — while thematically focusing on the dark and seemingly unending solitude that arises when one allows themselves to be completely isolated from the world.
“Guillotine,” the EP’s first single was a hauntingly moody and atmospheric track in which the band paired jangling guitar chords played through reverb and delay pedal, shimmering synths, a propulsive bass line and metronomic drumming with Jespersen’s equally moody baritone vocals. And interestingly enough, the song managed to evoke the lingering and embittering ghosts and ill-feelings of a particularly dysfunctional and/or ambivalent relationship; the awareness of time passing by and of the built-in regret that you’ve squandered the most valuable and important commodity you’ll ever know — time; and that feeling of stepping away from the wreckage of a lengthy relationship and not quite knowing what to do next or how to even go about it. The EP’s second and latest single “Shadows of the Thief” is a swirling and jangling song held together with an angular and propulsive bass line paired with Jespersen’s crooning baritone. And while nodding at Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations, complete with a rousing and anthemic hook, the song possesses a subtly bitter yet dreamy and lonely undertone.