The Universal - Super New Racket
Unless you're from Geelong or its surrounding areas, chances are you haven't heard of a four-piece band calling themselves The Universal. As this is likely the case, I suggest you rectify this problem immediately.
While the indie rock genre is normally towards the back of my proverbial dream lineup, the fact is the Universal's influences form a list as long as one documenting former members of Guns 'n' Roses. While not immediately obvious upon listening to their debut EP, "Super New Racket", The Universal have taken the best parts of indie rock and sellotaped them together to make a creation of surprisingly good quality.
The guitars (described as "jangly" by the band members, a fitting description) gel perfectly with the almost frantic drumming and loud, thudding bass lines. While vocalist/guitarist Evan Jones occasionally delves into the realm of the incomprehensible (most evident on "Sometimes"), he adds a certain flair that is vital to the group dynamic. The tracks included on the EP are essentially a cross-section of the band's live set, and in typical The Universal style, they get your head bobbing in seconds.
The first track, "I Will Forget You" will likely be rattling around in your noggin for hours after you've listened to it. Jones is ably supported by bassist Cameron Urquhart, whose emphatic riffs (and later backing vocals) grab you by the ears and demand to be heard. The slight downside to this track is that the almost-too-loud bass lines mean that the rhythm guitar track tends to be somewhat drowned out and blends a tad too much into the lead guitar in sections.
The second track, "Sometimes", is a hectic, high-energy offering and is definitely one of the more polished productions. Guitars, bass and drums are mixed well, and the imbalance in the previous track is gone. Having seen The Universal live, I can attest that the studio recording does the band's enthusiasm justice.
After the audial assault of "Sometimes", the EP's third track, "Buy The Ticket" is a slightly subdued, calming affair. Coming in at a rather short 2:05, the track seems to lack the volume of its fellows, meaning that it frequently passes by without the listener actually realizing that the track is over until you're 30 seconds into the next track.
The final track of "Super New Racket" is "Spooks", and is another The Universal favourite. From the very beginning, The Universal's bass and drums lead the charge and provide a thudding introduction that would probably not be popular with a fan with a hangover. "Spooks", along with "Sometimes", is a highlight of "Super New Racket", showing off the band's skills to the utmost extent – it shows off the polished, well written track and provides a glimpse of what is to come.
Being an EP, listeners only get a snippet of what The Universal have to offer, and "Super New Racket" gives this reviewer the feeling that this is just the beginning. With numerous live shows coming up and another EP in the works, this is a band that is highly recommended and well and truly worth keeping an eye on.
"Super New Racket" is available via Spinning Half Records or free to download on their Facebook.
4 out of 5
Reviews written by Alastair
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.