‘Caravan’, the new single and video from the Indie-Pop duo known as Ummagma, is a bit of a power-departure from their previous work in that it is more upbeat and, honestly, downright danceable in parts. Is this a stylistic rebellion? I think not. Musical groups, the good ones anyway, naturally evolve and progress. ‘Caravan is a positive sign of such musical movement. Combining more diverse instrumentation such as the varied percussion and clashing guitars, the song shows a more perfect blend of genre-crossing and just plain good old innovation. A lesson for musicians.
Ummagma’s ‘Caravan’ single is out on May 8. The ‘Compass’ LP will be released on June 21 via Leonard Skully Records, available on black vinyl and CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov and also digitally everywhere, including on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. In the meantime, it can pre-ordered directly via Bandcamp.
Indie pop electronic rock duo Ummagma has announced their new album ‘Compass’, to be released in June via Manchester-based label Leonard Skully Records. Their third long-play, this is the duo’s first album in seven years and also the first time the band is releasing a record on vinyl.
Ahead of this album, they present the ‘Caravan’ single, along with a special B-side ‘Ty i Ya’. The title track is an invigorating pop-rock anthem inspired by the musicians’ own journeys and infused with Carpathian gammas and percussion.
‘Ty i Ya’ is a vibe-injected upbeat track, with infectious Daft Punk-esque bassline, that Alexander Kretov composed and performs in his native Ukrainian language. This is the first single Ummagma has ever released in a language other than English, stepping beyond the confines of past songwriting limits.
“Caravan is about a personal journey – one that begins in the mind before any borders have even been crossed,” says Ummagma vocalist Shauna McLarnon. “The trip is so much better when you truly want to be part of it. You map your own destiny in many ways and dreaming is a great place to begin.”
The ‘Compass’ LP is beguiling in its post-genre nature. It is an album of grace and change, of familiarity and exploration, of emotion and euphoria, of sky-scraping cinematic highs and intimate and intriguing lows. This is the sound of a band allowing themselves to jump creative divides, to kick down musical barriers, and rip up the rule book or perhaps just ignore the fact that there ever was one in the first place.
Formed in Moscow in 2003, McLarnon hails from northern Canada while Kretov is originally from western Ukraine. Now based in Peterborough, Ontario, the couple completed this album over the course of five years and multiple moves, ultimately hauling their studio with them across the Atlantic and setting up all over again. With such transience in the real world, how could their sonic world reflect anything other than the same fluidity and movement?
This record follows on the trail of their ‘LCD’ EP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Dean Garcia (Curve), and ‘Winter Tale’ EP with 4AD dream pop pioneer A.R.Kane. Both of these were released in 2017.
They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company that they keep, and the same holds true for a band. Ummagma’s collaborations speak volumes. Apart from these three dreampop-shoegaze icons, they’ve worked with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s Malcolm Holmes, Swervedriver’s Graham Bonnar, and nu-disco kingpin Alexander Robotnick.
Ummagma’s music has always presented an exhilarating positive vision, showcasing their ability to wander diverse musical pathways. Representing Ukraine among 23 countries, they won the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio in 2013, and have been featured in a full-page spread in Rolling Stone Russia. In 2015, their collaborative ‘New Born’ album with Sounds of Sputnik also received a Jagermeister indie award, Russia’s most esteemed music award.
Otherworldly climes, matching heavenly vocals to arrangements as complex as they are hopelessly beautiful. Soaring melodies and swathes of sound… gorgeous with near orchestral reach.
– Clash Music
Full kaleidoscope of sounds, harmonies and musical instruments… the result is massive with an intricate fabric.
– Rolling Stone
Perfect slice of laid-back dream-pop, and McLarnon’s vocals seem to float over its woozy instrumentation.
– The Skinny
Ethereal pop indebted to Cocteau Twins and much of the rest of 4AD’s ’80s output.
Ummagma create music of otherworldly delicacy… Cosmic yet introspective dreampop.
– The Wire Magazine