In our multitasking world, music listening is typically done while we’re busy doing other things; driving, working, polishing the silver. Gone are the days of laying on the floor with our big headphones and simply listening to every note, memorizing lyrics, feeling the bridge and chorus. The musical experience performed by Cardiff’s, now Los Angeles, Until the Ribbon Breaks causes one to pull off the road, to stop, lay and listen to the gorgeously orchestrated, multi-faceted A Lesson Unlearnt.
The short intro to the 2015 album has the smokey mood of the Cellar in 1950’s San Francisco jazz district. The force of “Goldfish” hits you like the strong, wet winds from another sea, standing on Brighton’s cliffs overlooking the gray waters as lead singer, Pete Lawrie Winfield, drops knowledge, “You’re just a goldfish swimming in a bowl…You’re just a lighthouse nobody can see.”
Flip the switch and you’re down in Brixton via the Bronx, with a B-boy deep home groove on “Perspective,” tapping some samples and rhymes, but with plenty of organic instrumental finesse that fuses together with the precision of a diamond cutter. “A Taste of Silver” takes you on down to the bayou, with a back porch groove that will get an entire Southern Baptist congregation on their feet with hands in the air. And while “Spark” could be considered a bouncy, dancey number, the beats indeed fulfill on that promise, but the written lines cut much deeper.
The premise of UTRB’s moniker has been linked to the creation of mix tapes to capture a moment and emotion in time (and can be found as inspiration for personal tattoos), and playing them over and over until the tape gives way. It is that lack of monogamy to any specific genre to instead marry an amalgamation of tones, keys, notes, beats, and RPMs from generations past, present and future that give listeners of UTRM a ride they won’t soon forget.
This is especially true of the band’s live set, which threw people on their ass this past year at SXSW, Coachella, and at Denver’s Underground Music Showcase (see the full UTRB UMS photo essay). I could see people’s faces afterwards with both a glow and a sense of “Wow…” Winfield commands the stage with his worn horn, as if leading the charge on a battlefield, then manuevering through instruments, popping over to join keyboardist James Gordon but with drum sticks, and weaving around the stage as UTRB makes their way through the magical set list.
Drummer Elliott Wall told Entertainment Monthly, “Seeing people’s faces, when they light up, when we play live, that’s what does it for me. It’s seeing people’s faces light up when you’re doing your work; there’s no job out there that’s like that.”
UTRB plays the Larimer Lounge Friday, September 4 in Denver along with local band, Instant Empire. If you don’t have your ticket yet, you best get it on it son/sista. They stay on the road through the end of September.
Until the Ribbon Breaks Tour Dates:
September 4 – Larimer Lounge, Denver
September 6 – Northcoast Music Festival, Union Park, Chicago + the Northcoast After Party
September 8 – Drake Hotel, Toronto
September 9 – The Basement, Columbus
September 10 – Cattivo, Pittsburgh
September 12 – Perlpalooza, Albany
September 13 – Bar le Ritz, Montreal
September 14 – Aurora, Providence
September 16 – The Studio at Webster Hall, New York
September 17 – DC9, Washington DC
September 18 – Victory Beer Hall, Philadelphia