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The Umlauts
Another Fact Shrey Kathuria , October 14th, 2022 08:25

South London band's debut looks to the future – albeit a future caked in a hefty patina of dirt and grit, finds Shrey Kathuria

If deserted clubs had a soundtrack, it would probably sound like The Umlauts’ new EP. Formed at Wimbledon College of Arts, the multilingual group unleash a ceremonial and an exhilarating doom. Another Fact is a high-velocity release comprising art-punk and industrial techno that placed me on a barren dance floor from the very first track.

Featuring Black Country New Road’s producer Sergio Maschetzko and caroline’s Magdalena McLean on Violin, this EP is a promising and articulate collage of a multitude of sounds. Another Fact is an experience fuelled with melancholy and drama, built by the coming together of Alfred Lear and Oliver Offord’s songwriting along with vocals and lyrics by visual artists Annabelle Mödlinger and Maria Vittoria Faldini. The four-piece group (morphing into a nine-piece in a live setting) lays out a platter of emotions on this EP with each track sounding more mystical than the last. Here, the trans-European outfit from Stroud can be heard blitzing together a range of emotions through spiky synths, no wave vocals and hooks that hit more strongly with each passing moment. Everything blended together sounds like a celebratory funeral for a club that once was.

Opening track ‘The Quickening’ features a rich drone of textures that seems to be summoning memories of a forgotten rave. A mournful passage combined with echoed voices and ambient sounds conveys a longing until a slow-rising techno-esque arpeggio segues into the second track, ‘The Commuter’, an adrenalised dirge that does more than just introduce the quartet’s penchant for a post-punk aesthetic. With a heavyweight voice and hard-hitting snares, ‘The Commuter’ is almost an ode to old-school sci-fi soundtracks.

The on-going summoning of a derelict club intermittently slows down and comes right back up on ‘Non è Ancora’, a track evocative of a steamy dance-floor embellished with a slow but steady crowd… until ‘Sweat’ follows. A dirty-sounding pre-climactic racket of catchy rhymes and noisy synths denoting the essence of the whole EP, ‘Sweat’ compensates for all that is missing in my least favourite track ‘Frightened’.

Throughout this EP, tensions are built and feelings are flirted with only to see no resolution at the end of the tunnel. The last and lengthiest track, ‘Another Fact’ is a euphoric lamentation for the hypnotised dancers. Loud and raunchy, it swallows the rusty old rooms with overdriven arpeggios and yells until it finally climaxes with an explosion. Throughout the EP, there is a metallic feel to the sound – except the metal is severely rusted. A pulsating roar of buzz, clangs and grit, Another Fact is an exploration in art-punk that made me want to sway faster.