Vague Notion have returned with another dynamic and masterful single, the appropriately-named “Ungulate”, that is on fire in more ways than one.
The song’s lyrics and music (as well as the accompanying music video) play both openly and implicitly with themes associated with fire, heat, smoke, smoky air (even words themselves as a smoking gun), and the reactions they may trigger - anger, fear, confusion… in short, the “fight or flight” reaction that this reviewer himself associates with both fire and smoke.
The burning world presented in the track not only focuses on our forests, but on our interactions with our fellow humans. These interactions have become increasingly heated - this being the “fight” part of the reaction. Anger being like a fire in our minds burning so hot that it goes directly to our mouths rather than through our hearts first, and it’s one of our most valuable resources - EACH OTHER - that gets burned, only adding to the fire.
Rhythmically speaking, the first thought that came to my mind was 'how does one describe Forest rhythms VS Jungle rhythms?' I believe that these self-professed makers of “Deep Mountain Electronica” have woven a track with lots of active, frantic, scurrying noises moving through the stereo field, creating the illusion of being in the middle of a sort of electronic grove of Pine trees. Some of the rhythms even evoke the hooves of a very scared animal fleeing through this burning forest.
Cheryl’s voice and the unique way it blends with their particular sound (I see a future one day where synths will come with a Vague Notion bass preset or two) takes on several characters throughout this virtual forest, those above, below, all around you…and reminds us at many times that we are animals in this forest also - ones that lives parallel and superimposed on our world, whether it be surrounded by trees, buildings, or the mixture of both most of us live in. Instruments take on animalistic tendencies in the music, at times even threatening and feral, from what I am guessing is Bevan’s distorted guitar growl - unless they managed to find an electric bear and added it to the mix. It seems to manage to get the last word on the song, too.
Of all the personnas in this song, one of the most dominant is our sun. Portrayed here almost as a double-edged sword, it makes life on earth possible, yet as the climate rises, sets the stage for this raging character that is not only “burning up the life” but is also the “taker and leaver of strife”, setting at the end of the music video, bookending its rise at the beginning. It’s as if to remind us that we can still find hope in music and celebration in spite of difficult times. To once again quote the lyrics, “you may as well lighten up and dance” and I, for one, wholeheartedly agree.
- D.D.Danahy for PerturbRadio
Support Vague Notion by checking our their Bandcamp for ungulate and other great music, and by finding them on Facebook.
Watch the music video for Ungulate below ⬇️