ULTRA DOLPHINS: Alien Baby: LP

I used to see Virginia’s Ultra Dolphins in Richmond in the early ‘00s, but now realize that I’ve never heard them recorded. I’ve just seen them on stage, jumping around while performing guitar heroics that would require the most intense concentration from other musicians. The crowds would go nuts, but the songs sounded patched together, like haphazard stacks of unmatched parts. That has changed with this album. They’re slowed down their trippy, technical prog-punk and the vocals are sung, not screamed. The music still sounds like it’s being played backwards in a weird time signature, but it builds in its own ways, progressing, and even returning to hooks. Like a foreign language, understanding the Ultra Dolphins’ music requires immersion. I kept the record on my turntable for a week, until the hairpin turns made sense, and now I can enter their dimension and sing along.

 –CT Terry (Rorschach, rorschachrecords.net)