Album review: Ultra Q – My Guardian Angel

Jakob Armstrong introduces himself to the world with indie-rock outfit Ultra Q’s debut album…

Album review: Ultra Q – My Guardian Angel
Emma Wilkes

Let’s face it: if you share DNA with Billie Joe Armstrong, you’re hardly likely to aspire to be a chartered accountant. Both of the Green Day frontman’s sons have gone down the musical rabbit hole, but until now, his younger son Jakob has been beavering away on music mostly in the background. Having quietly worked on his craft since he was a child, he started off in the band Mt Eddy, alongside two of the members of what is now Ultra Q, but now feels like his moment to step forward and make himself and his band known.

Finding a home at the intersection of indie, punk and alt. rock, the Cali quartet’s debut album is disarmingly intricate for what it is. Opener Saturday begins with glistening ambiance that fades behind a trembling guitar line before transitioning effortlessly into early standout VR Sex, which shines with its choppier riffs and overflowing cinematic energy. So Very Emo, meanwhile, juxtaposes its sentimentalism with a suave sense of Strokes-inspired cool, while I Wanna Lose offers intriguing minimalism with shuffling percussion and a riff that trembles like it has caffeine shakes.

A few things don’t quite work. The whistling space-age synths of I Watched You Go feel too far removed from the rest of the record, and really, it’s a Waterparks song by accident (close your eyes and you can imagine Awsten Knight singing it quite easily). Slope, meanwhile, lacks a bit of shape and consequently struggles to be memorable, and Jakob’s vocals – occasionally with – sometimes sound a little too overproduced. Despite this, Ultra Q have plenty of intriguing, original ideas and more than a decent sense of identity. These guys might be onto something.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Basement, The Strokes, Interpol

My Guardian Angel is released on June 9 via Royal Mountain

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