Skip to main content

Ume: Monuments

Diverse if disjointed alt-rock from Texan trio

Harnessing the energy and essence of a band’s live show is one of the toughest things to achieve in the studio and Texans Ume, as seen on tour with Helmet, Smashing Pumpkins and Kylesa, are quite different on disc. Their debut, Phantoms, which wasn’t released over here, was a straight-up indie affair but Monuments is an album of many parts that showcases a diverse set of influences.

Combining Kylesa’s haunting atmospheres with the psychedelic fuzz of Californians Warpaint, Ume embrace a multitude of contrasting styles.

There are QOTSA-style stoner riffs on the beefy opener Black Stone and essence of Coral Fang-era Distillers on Embrace, not to mention a whiff of grunge on the likes of Until The End. There’s even a touch of The Velvet Underground on the off-kilter shoegaze of Barophobia and Gleam.

Produced by Adam Kaspar (QOTSA), Monuments is challenging and perhaps a little too varied for some, making it feel more like two disparate albums.

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.