Tuesday, 3 July 2007
"U.T.A." is a song that never really made much of an impact on me as part of Return To The Last Chance Saloon, an album that I've always found a bit of mess as a whole and on which it is dwarfed by the flashes of brilliance that surround ("Solomon Bites The Worm", later "sleazy Bed Track" and "If...").
On its own, though, it stands up pretty well as one of the most quietly successful experiments of the album. Mark Morriss' heavily treated voice is a result of the second album tendency to throw everything in the studio at the songs and see what sticks, but it works much better than most. Stretched desperately thin, it's a forlorn whine whose paranoia is all the more suffocating as a result, similar to in Radiohead's "Climbing Up The Walls" although without achieving quite the same levels of supreme creepiness. Newly heavy, fuzzy guitars are put to much better use than elsewhere on the album, creeping up to cover the song and smother its melody just as our narrator is smothered by America; whatever the T in "U.T.A." stands for, it's not a positive. To top things off, a siren blares and leads us to a suitably disspiriting conclusion. It acts as a neat counterpoint to the worship of certain aspects of North America throughout Last Chance Saloon, although similarly suffers just a hint of being more intellectual exercise than genuine feeling.