By Joe West
From their name you may assume musical duo ‘Vienna Ditto’ hail from Ultravox’s favourite Austrian city, and from their attitude laden tunes the impression is of a scuzzy, rockabilly Chicago blues band. Yet in reality vocalist Hatty Taylor and guitarist Nigel Firth operate from basements and boats in the UK. If Huw Stevens’ mouth-watering description of their sounds as like ‘Portishead doing a Tarantino soundtrack‘ does not command your attention then the first crunching riff on their forthcoming ‘Liar Liar’ EP will…
The title track is akin to crossing the threshold of a seedy bar with malintent but in a suit far too expensive for the surroundings; bruising but with hints of sophistication. Think a little of the raw, dirty guitar riffs of Deap Vally with the smoky charm of Misty Miller. The spluttering electronic undertones surface at the end of the track in a breakdown similar to what a hillbilly would sound like attempting to launch a spaceship.
‘The Undefeated’ begins with a distinct bluesy twang, reminiscent of the 3 stringed honesty of Seasick Steve, and a soft stomp that leads into Taylor’s dusty vocals. Joined by what sounds like someone banging the hull of an old rusty boat the track is an atmospheric affair which again builds to an eerily electronic climax. ‘Whatever comes my way’ shifts the tone towards the bands’ crisply acute melancholy side for a fragile, delicate track not unlike Laura Marling. It’s understated, absorbing and showcases the emotional resonance of Taylor’s voice.
The haunting, ticking opening of closing track ‘Little Fingers’ grows into a swirling fray of samples possibly including some panpipes and Jean Michel Jarre. Rounding off the EP in truly disorientating fashion it’s nevertheless a fabulous exposition of all that is wonderful about Vienna Ditto on a varied and captivating record.