Ummagma have been keeping a fairly low profile for a while: their last release was a couple if years ago now, and apart from the one lead track, ‘LCD’, it contained remixes of tracks which featured on their last album, 2012’s ‘Antigravity’.
Not that Shauna McLarnon and Alexander Kretov, the husband and wife pairing who make up Ummagma, have been idle all this time, and not that the time away has done anything to diminish either their reputation or creative abilities, and as a preface to their forthcoming album, ‘ Compass’, ‘Caravan’ certainly tantalises the earbuds.
A sturdy drum intro, with a beat lifted straight from The Cure circa ‘Pornography’ paves the way for the breeziest of breezy indiepop tunes. The guitars are low in the mix, jangling away at a nagging, looping motif off in the background, melting into layers of synth and almost subliminal electro bleeps.
Shauna’s vocals take the lead, before Alexander steps in, and there’s some nice interplay as they weave soft, mellow melodies.
B-side ‘Ty i Ya’ is the band’s first non-English offering with Kretov singing in his native Ukrainian. They’re delivered over a clean guitar and lightly funky groove that marks a shift from their established shoegaze stylings and even ventures into jazz territory halfway through.
It’s not revolutionary, but it is evolutionary, and suggests that we can expect further horizon-broadening with the album when it arrives.