Release Date: Aug 7, 2015
Record label: Trouble in Mind
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Having only released their first LP nine months ago, the arrival of Ultimate Painting’s second release ‘Green Lanes’ may come as a surprise. Thankfully, in delivering an album so soon after their first, James Hoare and Jack Cooper show a prolificness to be matched. With ‘Ultimate Painting’, they created timeless, off-beat pop that enveloped itself in rich melodies as much as it did angular progressions.
After releasing an excellent self-titled album in 2014, the duo of James Hoare (of Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (of Mazes) could have gone their separate ways, thus depriving fans of smart, sneakily good guitar pop a follow-up. Fortunately, their low-key collaboration continues with 2015's Green Lanes, and it's the equal of their debut, maybe even just a touch better. Working again in Hoare's home studio with the two men trading off songwriting, singing, and lead guitar duties in democratic fashion, the album is similarly laid-back and shaggy, with tricky guitar lines snaking around the breathy vocals and drummer Neil Robinson (also of Mazes) steadily steering the songs with calm precision.
Ultimate Painting named their first album Ultimate Painting, and opened it with a song called "Ultimate Painting". Those neutral titles matched the duo's no-frills music. Centered on the wiry guitar lines of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls), their economical three-minute songs echoed the patient melodies of the Velvet Underground's self-titled third album and the workingman's garage-pop of New Zealand bands like the Chills and the Bats.
It’s great, isn’t it, when something is just nice. Take, for example, Midnight in Paris: I’m confident that no one thinks it’s Woody Allen’s best movie by a long shot. You might argue, even, that it’s only superficially the work of the same man who gave us Hannah and her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanours and Zelig. But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t his loveliest, most enjoyable movie in at least a decade.
Simplicity is often times misleading. Just ask James Hoare and Jack Cooper of Ultimate Painting, a duo that writes muted, soft pop songs with such effortless ease that it ultimately turns against their favor. There’s not a moment on their second effort, Green Lanes, that makes the complicated appear simple or easily implemented; what you hear is what you get, essentially, with a breezy, functional approach that denies the idea that short attention spans mandate today’s pop landscape.
It’s only been a few months since Ultimate Painting unleashed, nay, tentatively proffered their flowery self-titled debut long player that more than hinted at the decade that first boasted freedom, promiscuousness and drugs (that’ll be the ‘60s for any aliens reading this) but album number two is already here, and unsurprisingly it’s largely more of the same. Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls, The Proper Ornaments) came together after previously having toured with their separate bands and the lo-fi recording of their first effort has been repeated again. With an elderly neighbour taking umbrage whenever things got a little too loud, he inadvertently helped shape the home recordings to a degree where everything is far more watered down than it would likely have been in a noise-no-limits studio.
James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (Mazes) blend Twerps' college slacker rock and The Kinks' sun-kissed melodies on their second Ultimate Painting album, Green Lanes. Joined by drummer Neil Robinson, they tighten screws to stay on track. Robinson's live percussion brings "Woken by Noises" from Parquet Courts punk to vintage dad rock and reshapes lackadaisical guitar solos on "Tee Zee Em" into a Pavement B-side.
The duo of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls) made their collaborative debut last year, a self-titled release on which they crafted a quaint nostalgia that charmed the attentive. A year on, and a year wiser, Green Lanes brings that antiquated chemistry back to life. Presenting dark topics over blissed-out, sun-kissed melodies, the duo balance a tightrope of the spirited and the shaken.
Now here's a rock & roll paradox for you: a sunshine-daydream guitar album from the gloomy streets of East London. Ultimate Painting are two British dudes with their own thriving indie bands — Mazes' Jack Cooper and Veronica Falls' James Hoare. Together they come up with a deliciously woozy guitar rush, buzzing in the style of the Velvets or the Clean, yet infused by the spirit of the Grateful Dead, as you can guess from titles like "Two From the Vault." The songs don't need much time to create a mood — none even reach the four-minute mark — but they all kick in, from the psychedelic late-night babble of "Woken by Noises" and "Kodiak" to the wispy stoner ballad "Out in the Cold." .
It’s hard to knock an album that attributes its qualities to some of music’s most refined songwriters. Kodiak is the first exhibit in this museum-like collection of rock subgenres, the second release from Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls. It opens with a dawdling riff ripped from Stephen Malkmus, before the nervous shuffle of (I’ve Got The) Sanctioned Blues recalls Graham Coxon at his most melodic and neurotic.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. This morning, I woke up at about 8:15 and made some breakfast. I felt inclined to check my phone, but I didn't want to start my day off with too much reality. I saw my therapist. Later, at the park, I contemplated death a bit as I watched all the ….
While Ultimate Painting, the duo of Mazes’ Jack Cooper and Veronica Falls’ James Hoare, is a year older (and presumably a year wiser), the duo seems perfectly content with playing the same breezy jangles that garnered them a number of comparisons to The Velvet Underground and pre-psychedelic Beatles. The indie rock outfit’s latest release begins right where last year’s self-titled debut left off: in a hazy fog of mid-tempo nostalgia. The key difference between this album and the group’s previous effort is the season it embodies.
Ultimate Painting—Green Lanes (Trouble In Mind)Green Lanes feels like the quintessential summer album, a laid-back drift through wistful, melodic pop, with nods to the Kinks, the Beatles, the Feelies and Teenage Fan Club. It floats in as if through an open window, surrounds you like a warm, scented breeze and passes softly on its way. A mild sense of well-being is the only mark it leaves.And yet, this second album from the UK duo — that’s James Hoare from Veronica Falls and Proper Ornaments and Jack Cooper from Mazes — is a bit twitchier and more complicated than you might, at first, give it credit for.
Behold: seven of the best slightly-under-the-radar albums released this week, from the eclectic record collection of The Horrors’ Tom Furse to the blissed-out reinvention of Colorado Springs singer-songwriter Night Beds..
There’s something familiar about the breezy, indie pop sounds of Ultimate Painting’s sophomore album. The London-based trio led by James Hoare and Jack Cooper (of bona fide British rock bands Veronica Falls and Mazes, respectively) are able to turn into Paul and John or Lou Reed and Co. circa 1979. Hoare and Cooper’s vocal melodies are warm and lush (best on the super-catchy Sweet Chris), circling around sinewy guitar lines that prop up each tune.