Review Summary: A surprise EP of two bonus tracks from The Assassination of Julius Caesar and a fascinating cover song. Despite the short length, it’s one of the strongest releases of the year.
Ulver surprised their fanbase in April of this year with the dark pop styles of The Assassination of Julius Caesar
, their most accessible record and a full-on return to singing and vocal melodies. While this may not signify a permanent direction for the band, as they’ve reinvented themselves more times than possibly any other group in music history, we now have a few more songs charting the same course only seven months after The Assassination
… Synth pulses and Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg’s soaring vocals on “Echo Chamber (Room of Tears)” feel right at home with The Assassination
… The addition of heavy guitar chords and production techniques, like muffling and various instrumental fade-outs, all exude a hazy, almost psychedelic atmosphere. “Bring Out Your Dead” veers toward the straightforward and rhythmic moments of The Assassination
… while having just as many instrumental layers and transitions as “Echo Chamber (Room of Tears).” The use of strings and similar production flourishes as the previous song add plenty of color, as they do for The Assassination
. “The Power of Love” is an interesting take on a 1980s art pop classic, feeling like a lost track from their diverse cover album Childhood’s End
from 2012. That album was the most recognizable foreshadowing for this new direction, and The Assassination
… and now Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
show what Ulver can do to create their own unique sounds with some stylistic influences from the decade the 2010s have been obsessed with. Ulver’s imaginative, unique approach to more accessible genres is needed in the modern music landscape. These new songs feel right at home with The Assassination
… and provide more excellence in that style. Whether this is or isn’t the last we’ll hear of pop music from Ulver, or as close to it as they can get, it’s been a highly rewarding and stimulating experience of dark pop magic from the wolves of Norway.