I’ve had a musical crush on LA-based/British-born electrosoul outfit, Until The Ribbon Breaks (Pete, Elliot and James) since I had the pleasure of seeing them open for alt-pop/rock GODDESS Lorde on her first MAJOR U.S. tour just over a year ago. Well, since then, this musical crush has developed into a full-blown passionate love affair, which intensifies with each new song they put out, the most recent one being the SUPREMELY sexy “A Taste Of Silver.” Check out the video below.
To date, the boys have released an EP as well as several remixes (or “re-imaginations” as UTRB calls them) for a diverse array of artists; everyone from Lorde and London Grammar to Phantogram, Tegan and Sara, Laura Mvula, Sam Smith…even taking on Robert Palmer‘s iconic “Addicted To Love” (listen below). FINALLY now, after what has felt like ENDLESS teasing, UTRB announces the release of their debut album, A Lesson Unlearnt, on November 4th on KOBALT Music Group.
While I labeled Until The Ribbon Breaks‘ sound as “electrosoul” at the beginning of this piece, labeling these guys at all isn’t really fair or representative of who they are artists. Sure, there are electronic elements in their sound, as well as specks of soul and R&B, but the band is much more than that. UTRB has a unique ability to blend together a myriad of DIFFERENT genres—everything from R&B, hip-hop, jazz and soul, pop and trip-hop—all coming together to create these lush sonic soundscapes that undulate with sexy synths, destined for play in both seedy night clubs and bedrooms alike.
The band’s sound is meant to recall the days when mixtapes (or mix CDs as it were) were passed from boyfriend to girlfriend (and vice versa) or from friend to friend. You remember those days, right? The days before iPods and iPhones when you would painstakingly splice together songs from the radio and put them on a cassette to give to a girl, boy or platonic friend. Sometimes you’d spend just as much time designing artwork for the little piece of cardboard that would serve as the cover for the mixtape. You would then give the mixtape to your friend “to let them know what music you loved. It didn’t matter if one song was De La Soul and the next was R.E.M., it was about the feeling the entire collection conveyed.” These mixtapes would then be played and played and played—over and over again until the ribbon broke. While the days of cassette tapes are long gone, UTRB is bringing back the idea that a seemingly mismatched mixture of sounds and genres can come together and make you FEEL SOMETHING. I really like how the press release describes their sound:
“Decidedly honest, their music embraces an old-school passion for intricate, clever writing, and the slicing together of sounds, samples and lyrics; a skill demonstrated in debut track ‘Pressure’ and the accompanied self-made video which they released on YouTube in 2013.”
Another important component of Until The Ribbon Breaks‘ vibe is the imagery that goes hand in hand with the music. Steering clear of old music video clichés, the band’s hands on approach to the creation of their visual complements is very evident, thanks largely in part to Pete’s background in filmmaking, something he studied in school. During the making their debut EP, A Taste Of Silver, the three guys hunkered down in a studio with nothing but a film projector, microphone, drum machine and a piano. With each track they produced, an accompanying video too was made (kind of pulling off a Beyoncé, before Beyoncé!). Even the subsequent videos that came later have a sort of homemade vibe to them, calling to mind Lana Del Rey‘s “Video Games” era. Watching films by acclaimed directors such as David Lynch and Terrance Malick inspired the band and eventually “the mood usurped the narrative and the visuals and music became entwined.” Beautiful and organic—like the music-making process should always be.
“A LESSON UNLEARNT” Tracklisting
1. The Other Ones (Intro)
3. A Taste Of Silver
5. Perspective (Feat Homeboy Sandman)
7. Revolution Indifference (Feat Run The Jewels)
11. Until The Ribbon Breaks
When talking about the new album, Pete describes reaching “a point where creativity no longer held the same spark and I needed to learn a new way to express what I was feeling. I needed to ‘unlearn’ and start again. I needed to re-imagine the endless possibility and infinite chance of sitting in front of a piano, a drum machine and a movie projector…. to empty the mind – “A Lesson Unlearnt.”
After having played sold out tours supporting Lorde, Phantogram and Delorean, UTRB recently went back home to the UK to play an EMOTIONAL sold out set in London. EMOTIONAL because the boys have been busy working and promoting here in the States, not having a whole lot of time to get home, much less perform at home. Now, back in America, UTRB is getting ready to set out on the road again, this time opening for London Grammar on their latest trek across North America. The tour commences on November 7th in Washington D.C. and wraps November 29th in Oakland, California. The mark their support, the trio released an exclusive “re-imagination” of London Grammar‘s already stunning “Sights,” taken from their debut album If You Wait. Check out a full list of tour dates BELOW and pre-order the new album, A Lesson Unlearnt (iTunes).
11/07 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C*
11/08 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA*
11/11 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY*
11/12 – Port City Music Hall – Portland, ME*
11/17 – House of Blues – Boston, MA*
11/18 – Club Soda – Montreal, QC*
11/19 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON*
11/21 – Deluxe – Old National Center – Indianapolis, IN*
11/22 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN*
11/25 – Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO*
11/26 – In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT*
11/28 – Roseland Theater – Portland, OR*
11/29 – Fox Theater – Oakland, CA*
Supporting London Grammar