CD, A Different Drum, 2007
Spain does seem to be a bit of a hotspot for upcoming Synthpop at the moment, with each and every one of them bringing something different to the scene. Surprisingly, Ultraviolet is one of the few newer acts of that part of the world that always managed to elude me somehow, so after a bit of searching I was very pleased to see that on one of his sites there is a free download of his debut album “A New Day”. After hearing the debut I was left with a burning desire to hear more, so when I heard the new album, “Dos”, was on its way, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to review it.
Ultraviolet is in many ways a pretty straightforward Synthpop act. Much like others in this area of music (i.e. Camouflage and De/Vision), his songs are fuelled by harmonies, melodic synth leads, and strong passionate male vocals and whilst his sound may not be totally original, Ultraviolet does have a very modern touch to his music. For instance, you can tell that a ton of thought has been put into the percussion and the bass, both of which seem to be arranged with quite some precision. I have felt that with some other bands in this genre that this is often overlooked, and while others would rather rely on a catchy chorus and a good beat to get them through a song, Ultraviolet wants you to relish in as much as he can offer. Another thing that I think helps “Dos” stand out from the crowd is the astonishing production. I can imagine that it would take many artists a lot longer to get to this kind standard, so to achieve this by your second album is quite an impressive feat indeed. The sheer amount of musical skill doesn’t go unnoticed either: Javier Balsa clearly isn’t afraid to experiment with different sounding instruments in his music, be it synthetic or otherwise, so be prepared to hear something new with every song.
With all of these factors considered, I think most people will enjoy going back to this album time and time again. It is certainly an album that will grow on you and with every listen it does get better. The only thing I could wish for is for Ultraviolet to show a bit more originality. The progression in this album from the debut certainly does hold hope for an impressive third album by Ultraviolet, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
— Paul Marcham