Review Summary: USS finds themselves drowning amongst a myriad of bands that sacrificed their spark for (a chance at) stardom.
When you’re a musical act that bases your very musical ideals on experimentation and further attempts at pushing the limits, all while attempting to maintain some radio-playability, a ceiling can actually be put on your creation process. Although it seems like such an act would have endless possibilities at their disposal, they may actually find themselves in a bit of a musical purgatory. In this seemingly halted existence the output isn’t poor at all, but can’t seem to get over the hurdles of its past. On the full-length follow-up to their debut EP, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
find themselves faltering in this unwavering place, producing another couple of semi-catchy potential singles but failing to leave the impact of their first offering.
This album is by no means bad, and it could probably be easily disputed that the quality of production is at the very least comparable to 2007’s Welding the C:/
EP. The tracks on USS
’ debut LP Questamation
are again up to pretty stellar standards (production-wise), with everything nicely polished and crisp. Turntablist/hypeman Jason Parsons said of the new record, “It’s going to be our hello to the world”; in many respects this is a fitting introduction. Launching with Cloud Boy
brings the listener to a place reminiscent of Muse
, at least until the saturating electronics start to fade into the background. Still sounding very much like USS
, this track could’ve probably found its way onto the debut EP with some of its hooks, though its straightforward weaknesses bring it down considerably. This is an unfortunate trend that plagues Questamation
, a package of repetitive songs, with the odd danceable beat – see: 80’s tinged Laces Out
and 3 Purple Butterflies
. The duo never really seem to find the energy that packed Welding the C:/
, coming closest on songs like Anti-Venom
and the surprisingly catchy Neurological Warfare Gas Masquerade
. These brief moments in the sun, however, are cast in the shadows of the vast amount of ill-advised pieces on the record. P.S. I Can Change
’s attempt at a cutesy, pop saturated radio favourite is an alarming trend that worms its way throughout the disc. The laughable ‘rap’ of Stationary Robbery
– a song actually about ways of stealing forms of communication… - is another sad example of the aforementioned affliction of Questamation
Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
find themselves caught in a place trying to repeat the past radio success of their debut’s Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole
, loosely following its format but falling flat on the delivery and potential of the music. Frontman Ash Bucholz, on the band’s sound, said “it’s like you’re at Nirvana Unplugged but there’s a drum and bass party and glow sticks all around you.” I have to respectfully disagree with him on this one; instead I hear a fry cry from originality, in its place a new sense of laziness and a desperate plea for radio attention. With staggering poetry like, “When my laundry is through, I will tumble with you”
, and “I spy with my little eye something that’s a lie”
, the choruses and lyrically matter on this album get stale and repetitive pretty damn quick; the handful of decent beats can only do so much to save the listener from this.