UNKLE UNKLEOnly The Lonely EP
SURRENDER ALL (CD + digital)
After so many years, UNKLE’s music is still being labelled by many shops as trip-hop or downtempo. It’s absurd, because it’s been a long time since James Lavelle made any –or had any made– one single smoky beat. Ever since “War Stories” (2007) –and even “Never, Never, Land” (2003)–, it’s been all guitars and riffs, with big vocals crying war. He’s been a rock man ever since he teamed up with, at first Richard File, and now former Psychonaut Pablo Clements, and that’s why on “Money And Run”, a violent and muddy blues, Nick Cave is the singer, and on “The Dog Is Black” it’s Leila Moss, the lady of The Duke Spirit. And they’re not the only guest vocalists: Gavin Clark (from Clayhill) sings on “Wash The Love Away” and on the Australian version of the single the leader of The Cult, Ian Astbury, appears, too. Long story short: UNKLE is more leather jackets than neon-coloured hoodies.
“Only The Lonely EP” also makes it clear that UNKLE wants to keep making masculine and vibrant rock, produced with dub and electronica techniques, a meticulous studio effort where every indication of live playing is polished, just like the dirtiest influences from garage. James Lavelle has one factor to his disadvantage: the most avid rockers are not convinced and they dispute his credibility. But that shouldn’t stop him: the same thing happened to Richard Fearless and in the end, Death In Vegas went down in history the way he wanted it to. The production on this record deserves a special mention, it sound fantastic. If there’s anything we can reproach him for, it’s the final version of the songs, because UNKLE is still far from being a revolutionary rock band. Lavelle’s persistence is admirable and he shouldn’t give up. What Andrew Weatherall did with Two Lone Swordsmen, giving up on the post-punk transformation of his band after one record, won’t happen to James Lavelle.