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Pop Goes the Ultratone
A World With No Pain (DaDork Records)
By Kevin Gibson
Imagine a world with no pain; is it Utopia? Is it truly perfection? Or is it a dull and sterile place, devoid of the emotional waves that make us feel things deeply?
A World With No Pain, Ultratone's latest, is a concept album about a far-away future society that has learned how to live without any form of pain – and the efforts of another civilization to take it down. War ensues, bringing with it untold amounts of pain for all involved.
Yes, this is a story about the reality of pain and how it grounds us in reality – not the ramblings of a hippie wishing for everyone to just get along. The premise may not be genius or even particularly groundbreaking, but as a piece of music, the story premise works.
More than anything, A World With No Pain is a beautifully crafted album, a sonic triumph that draws on elements of pop, rock, techno and prog rock. Frontman Joe Scheirich weaves a tapestry built on gorgeous melodies and held together by layers of sweet vocals and instrumentation that almost become characters in the story.
A perfect example is the lilting "The Secret (Don't Make a Sound)," which could almost be a marriage between the darker side of the Scottish band Travis and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys -- with a little Tears for Fears thrown in for flavor.
Perhaps most interestingly is that while the songs stand alone, the individual pieces manage to fully form into one whole that spans more than an hour. On its own, the aforementioned song might seem a bit lengthy at six minutes, 46 seconds, but in the context of the album, it nearly doesn't seem long enough.
Then there is "That's How You Feel," a perfectly crafted power pop song with hook you won't escape from. This could be a lost track from a Posies album.
Honestly, it takes balls to attempt a project like A World With No Pain – a failure here is an epic failure. Scheirich not only proves he has balls, but he and his band pull the task off and then some. Spend an hour with this, and you'll feel no pain at least for while.
Learn more at ultratoneonline.com.