Everything Picture Retrospective Review
Released in April 1999, Everything Picture reached #23 in the UK album charts and spawned 3 hit singles. In my humble opinion it is not just one of the best albums of the 90s or one of the best indie albums but one of the best albums of all time.
It has an enormous range of creative ideas ranging from beautiful aching melodies to raw heart stopping rock. Tiny's powerful and emotional vocals cutting through each song with Vanessa's amazing backing vocals and the band in full on driving mode.
Cross My Heart opens the album with an amazing threatening opening complete with sampled voices leading into the addition of drums then finally the song gets going with Tiny's throaty vocals. Nothing seems rushed on the album and this song demonstrates it perfectly with everything perfectly in place and the production is brilliant with the song building then receding and building again. before segueing into
Same Band has another fantastic intro but this time very rocky with hard hitting lyrics great instrumental effects and a typical Ultrasound ending which lingers.
Stay Young -what more can be said about this song? A tremendous anthem and a crowd favourite at gigs. It was also the song that really introduced Ultrasound to the public. The combination of Tiny and Vanessa's voices on the chorus is stunning. the guitar and drums pushing the song to even greater heights as the song moves to it's wonderfully prolonged conclusion.
Suckle is one of my favourite tracks on the album. a beautiful haunting melody introduces the vocals. The running guitar behind is a feature of the song. After tender verse vocals the chorus bursts in powerfully with the two voices complementing each other.. After two verses and choruses Richard's guitar riffs the song into another gear and then Tiny spits out Suckle and the haunting intro returns. Awesome. Plus another prolonged ending of course!
Fame Thing a brilliant rocking track with the lyrics that you want to joing in and shout along to after a hard day at the office! But as usual the arrangement and vocal harmonies take the song above ordinary rock tracks.. It has a great ending too with Vanessa singing Fame while Tiny hammers out the lyrics without seeming to take a breath.
Happy Times shows demonstrates the variety and range of Ultrasound. the heavy sound is put on hold until later as Tiny and Vanessa harmonise emotionally through verses and chorus. Vanessa gets the first of her solo spots on the album too with mesmerising effect.
Aire and Calder was due to be the fourth single released from the album but never came out due to the band splitting up. It is a beautiful song and quite different from the songs on the first side with a gorgeous melody. It finally got released as a single in 2021. It also features a very elongated ending.
Sentimental Song sounds like a traditional song with its beautiful melody in its verses and chorus but its of course another great Ultrasound original. The traditional song feel is even more enhanced with the choir like sing out .
Floodlit World is a great pop song which peaked at #39 for the band. Fantastic effects at the start before the chords and keys kick in. A prefectly crafted slice of high quality pop music with Richard's guitar a hihghlight of the song and Tiny singing counterpoint on the chorus to give it even more punch.
My Impossible Dream is my absolute favourite with the angst of the lyrics juxtaposed with the deliberate atonal bridge which then leads into the most wonderful melody of the chorus. However several things make this an incredible song. Listen to the third chorus and see how the melody has been subtly changed to give the song a beautiful finality. The song also features various voice effects in the background and remember this was just about before computers would produce the effects for you easily. The voices from radio and TV also come again at the end to stunning effect.
Everything Picture a sprawling cinematic finale to the album. Another stunningly beautiful tune merges into a delayed chorus with Tiny and Vanessa's soaring vocals. Then mayhem as the the band create a wall of sound with Vanessa producing the vocal performance of a life time! That finished after about 8 minutes then there is ambient noise, silence and a duet with piano to complete 39 minutes of epic proportions.
So the reissue is out on September 24! I can't wait!
This is my review of the album and in no way were the band involved in this review.
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