Telephone Explosion proudly presents the self-titled debut LP from Toronto’s UH HUH, out physically and digitally on April 14, 2023. The album features eight tracks of dub-damaged art rock which conjure a potent vision of spaced-out 1980s post-punks feeding their angular rhythms and bass-heavy grooves through layer upon layer of grime-spattered spring reverb.
There is a palpable sense of discovery and exploration throughout UH HUH’s 37 heady minutes. Elastic basslines and serpentine guitar phrases throb and glide, cutting through dubwise reverberations like hands moving through an opaque cloud of reefer smoke.
Formerly known as Teenanger, the reconfigured (and reinvigorated) group’s newfound sense of sonic identity is put on display the moment the door kicks open. The percolating spaciousness of opener “Somewhere Beyond” is followed by the cyclical grooves of “Redemption Pause.” Vocalists Christopher Swimmings and Melissa Ball each take respective turns at lead vocal duties, showcasing their contrasting yet complimentary styles.
“Babylon”, a slab of overcast, loping funk features both singers on the same track, alternating between Swimmings’ stoned syncopation and Ball’s saccharine melancholy. This juxtaposition leans against a backdrop of reverb-soaked drums, watery guitar chords and rippling trumpet.
The slinking, fractured grooves of “Rain (In The Afternoon)” and “Citrus Song” call to mind the deranged minimal dub-wave of Naffi or Vivien Goldman. Both songs feature lyrical content heavily inspired by the Florida swamplands, although the aural landscape on these tracks is decidedly more brutalist than Boca Raton. Two of the songs included here are reworkings of previously released Teenanger numbers. “Blinds Drawn” is reduced to its core elements of bottom-heavy rhythm, spliced guitar shanks and Swimmings’ murmured ruminations. “Good, You”, on the other hand, is completely re-imagined as a blissed-out melt of opiated bossa nova.
After countless hours of experimentation during the album’s recording sessions at Toronto’s Studio Z, the band decided to send their drum machines, snare drums and percussion through an obscure 1960’s Japanese Guyatone guitar amp with a notoriously ecstatic spring reverb sound. The result was immediately inspiring.
The dank, busted and clanking tones produced by the Guyatone evoke a muggy, humid atmosphere that mimics the photo on UH HUH’s cover. The process of re-amping is literally the means through which UH HUH found the sound of this record. UH HUH is a record that asks more questions than it does provide answers. This is searching music that requires that the listener lean into it, the more time you spend in between the beats, bars, notes contained within, the more vivid the picture becomes.