Lincoln, Nebraska's UUVVWWZ's debut LP starts off promising yet falls short of truly impressing
First and foremost: their name is super lame. Let's just get that out of the way. Saddle Creek recording artists UUVVWWZ (pronounced "double you, double vee, double double you, zee," as described by the band) release their first, self-titled LP this Tuesday, and their ambition is admirable. Unfortunately, UUVVWWZ's polish and direction throughout the album seem a bit misplaced. While UUVVWWZ starts off with quite an impressionable bang, the latter part of the album sputters into 8 minute jams that go absolutely nowhere. However, the effort by the band is at least a fresh, new direction amidst a sea of whiny indie rock -- and quite a blast of fresh air for a label like Omaha's Saddle Creek.
The album, as mentioned earlier, starts off strong with tracks like "Berry Can" and "Shark Suit" -- the latter being quite possibly the album's finest track. It shows off the rollicking, frenetic vocals of lead singer Teal Gardner -- a nice mix of Karen O. and just a hint of Tina Weymouth. She really does give the band their unique quality -- one that goes a long way amongst the bevy of male vocal-lead indie rock.
"Jap Dad," the album's third track, is another frenzied indie-pop song with hurried guitars and Gardner's yelping vocals. It compliments "Berry Can" and "Shark Suit" before it, and it gives listeners a sense of just what the band does best. Unfortunately for UUVVWWZ, the next song "Neolano" goes to a completely different place from the first three tracks -- slowing down the album's light, frenzied pace into a sluggish, boring crawl. The song is just shy of 8 minutes and -- amazingly -- manages to accomplish absolutely nothing for the band. I couldn't believe they chose to stick the song right in the middle of the album like that, especially considering how strong the first three tracks are.
"Green Starred Sleeve" and "Trapezeus" try to restore the album's pride, but they, too, are sandwiched by slow, meandering songs that prove how disjointed UUVVWWZ really is. What could have been considered a great work is, unfortunately, too bogged down by shortcomings that expose flaws in the band I'd rather not hear when listening to their first album. Still, there are bright spots in UUVVZZW that help the creativity and originality of the band shine -- while those spots may be limited, they are impressive in their clout and tenacity.