Ume: Sunshower EP

Ume (pronounced…I have no clue) (Editor’s note: it’s pronounced Ooh-may) is an Austin-based alt-rock trio led by the impressive, alliteratively-named Lauren Langner Larson. She’s not full-on riot-grrl, but Larson has an edge to her voice, with a growling undertone constantly on the threat of bubbling over and taking control throughout their latest EP Sunshower. Her screams on the opening “East of Hercules” have echoes of Brody from the Distillers and Joan Jett; throaty, guttural and utterly powerful. What really makes her, and by extension Ume as a whole, stand out is Larson’s ability to go back and forth between her punk-rock growls and a more dominant melodic singing voice that wouldn’t be out of place on a Top 40 pop record. The music behind the bipolar vocals isn’t half bad either, and is equally manic in a Pixies loud-quiet-loud kind of way, but they do the loud parts better than the quiet ones. When they keep it mellow too long they suffer, and the full-on ballad title track sinks before it takes off because there’s no power or emotion to carry it. The other slow track on the album, “The Means,” works better because the restrained first half builds to an explosive second half where Larson is once again able to showcase her quality vocal chops. Ume released a full-length record back in 2005, and this far-too-short EP is evidence that they’re ready for another. (Hulga 2009)

Ume MySpace Page