Ume, with the Kants and Firebird

Urgent Sea, Ume's new CD, doesn't recall Sonic Youth all that much, except when bass player Eric Larson takes the occasional lead vocal. Hate to be a dick, but as Rich Little was to Johnny Carson, so is Larson to Thurston Moore. Thankfully, most of the fire in the belly of this band comes from Eric's wife, Laura Langner Larson, whose blistering guitar maelstrom and aggressive, shape-shifting vocal stylings bring back fond memories of a simpler time, when scene mavens actually debated whether Babes in Toyland's clothing choices disqualified them as Riot Grrrl. So, yeah, LLL sings like Kim Gordon only every once in a while (although now that I think about it, the instrumental break on "Manic" could've been looped from Sister). Still, it's hard to carp about derivation when a band is peeling your paint so viciously, and in concert that goes double as the cute, petite Laura transforms into the most feral and spastic front woman a feller could ask for.
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Scott Faingold