Words: Lloyd Bolton | Photo: Yolanda Mitchell & Joseph Barrett
Synth pulses accumulate, German-language vocals and mechanical drums kick in, a violin whines, and is that some kind of robot cuckoo clock? That’s right, folks, it’s a new tune from The Umlauts!
The first thing you notice about ‘Another Fact’, as well as the previously released ‘Non è Ancora’, is the new attention to space afforded to the contributions of each of the group’s swarm of performers. Where the debut ‘Ü‘ thudded and fizzed on a thick, gleefully chaotic coalescence of layers, the singles from the forthcoming follow-up, itself named ‘Another Fact’, present more detail and consideration. We can hear detail within and interaction between the many synth parts, feel new degrees of emotion to the vocals, and pick out the violin we have always strained to catch at live sets.
The song ‘Another Fact’ is almost glacial, sneaking up on the listener as it moves from a gentle beginning to an intense climax, new elements appearing like stars in the sky to a patient watcher. Throughout, insistent synth rhythms forebode a cathartic ending, demarcated by an increase in buzz and yelling before closing on the final strangled lines delivered in isolation after the madness.
In shifting the focus of their music away from the sweaty disco rock that defined their early material, The Umlauts offer a re-examination of the elements of this music and consider other uses it might be put to. While ‘Boiler Suits and Combat Boots’ will never not be a tremendous thumping live staple, it is interesting to see the band experimenting with the dancefloor further from their mind. Even the title of this track and the new collection, ‘Another Fact’, refers to a development from the ‘Ü’ EP and it’s opener ‘The Fact’. It is a new discovery, an alternative route. We’ll have to wait for the full release on 14th October to find out exactly where it leads them.