USS – Advanced Basics Album Review
This talented duo from Toronto has continued to pop up on my radar over the past few years; each time offering another creative catchy single that seems to bet get hopelessly stuck on replay on the iPod. We finally got our hands on a USS album, the recently released Advanced Basics, and I anxiously took it for a spin.
Simply put, Advanced Basics is fantastic. If this was a full-length album, there’s no doubt we’d be seeing this highly rated in our year-end Best of 2014 list. The album features seven electronic rock tracks, highlighted by clever guitar riffs, powerful drums and catchy lyrics, there’s not a weak offering on the release.
It’s actually quite difficult to slip this creative band into a predetermined rock music genre, they’re quite the unique combination. If I had to make a comparison to existing bands, I could picture them the eclectic spawn of Linkin Park and Dandy Warhols; yeah, it’s a little different, but it’s damn good stuff.
Vocalist/guitarist Ashley Boo-Schultz and hypeman/turntablist Human Kebab are USS, or as they are known in full form, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, have been making cutting edge music together for more than seven years. From the band bio: “We’re walking examples of simultaneous opposite juxtaposition,” says Boo-Schultz. “When we met, Jay had just graduated university and I had just dropped out. He’s a hyper-extrovert, and I’m a hyper-introvert. I’m always looking in, and he’s always looking out. It became glaringly obvious right away that we needed one another.” From the results we see on Advanced Basics, they complement each other ideally.
The debut single, “This Is The Best” is a riveting, addictive track featuring fantastic juxtaposing lyrics “This is the best, my life’s a fucking mess…” Great stuff. It’s a powerful rocker with a heavy techno beat and great gritty vocals from the talented Boo-Schultz. It’s slightly darker and harder than most of the album, but a sure-fire radio staple.
USS exhibits their growth and maturity in the lyrical content of this album. “Nepal” is a call to action for the listener; and “Hydrogenuine” and “Built To Break Up” feature mature and deeply introspective lyrics wrapped inside simply addictive and supremely listenable rock music.
Every song has its own merits and truthfully if you asked seven different rock fans for their favorite track, you could very well end up with seven different choices. “Freakquency” features the slickest, most mainstream song, and seems like a logical future single release, and I like it a lot, but it might be my least favorite track on the album. My favorite track? It’s “Yin Yang” which is currently riding high on Canadian Alt-Rock charts.
Buy the album when it’s available South of the border (until then buy the single below) and see for yourself why we have this one already pegged as a 2014 highlight offering.