POP: Keeping faith with Tiny

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Andy "Tiny" Wood, singer/guitarist with heroic Nude-signings Ultrasound, is wondering what Mark E Smith would make of his band. "He probably thinks we were a flute solo shy of prog, wouldn't he?" he muses.

Actually, "shy" is not a word you might readily associate with Ultrasound. They make shamelessly huge prog-punk epics, as anyone who has heard "Same Band" (debut single and obligatory Fierce Panda release), the choral sci- fi lullaby of current single "Best Wishes", the cascading anthem "Stay Young" or the melodramatic, soaring swoon of "Floodlit World" will attest.

Tiny himself is another matter. He speaks softly and admits he didn't immediately take to coming clean in interviews. "When we started out, we spent so much time worrying about what we could say, what we dare say about us and our influences," he confesses. "We toyed with the idea of saying I was 25 (he's in his thirties), but it's not exactly honest, is it?"

If Tiny has trouble being honest it's probably because he spent the 16 years since leaving school on the dole, learning how to keep the DSS off his back and "playing at leading a gang of potholers on a restart course". He was playing in a band, "though not a conventional band in the sense that we didn't play live and we didn't play songs that you could sing. We called it 'improvised' but as we couldn't play, it was just in the spirit of having a go."

Now the man who claims his first rock'n'roll epiphany came watching Gary Glitter sing "I Love You Love" on Top Of The Pops leads his own gang of rock'n'roll misfits: Bernard Butler-styled guitarist Richard Green, baldy drummer Andy Peace, smooth-tonsilled bassist and backing singer Vanessa Best and hirsute keyboardist Matt Green.

God-given oddballs one and all, not least because of Tiny's non-indie girth and their music's unfashionable prog scope. "I don't really think about it as prog, though, just music that turns you on," says Tiny. "I don't know what prog means, aside from away from the standard, further on. Yes did loads of shit and their lyrics were bollocks, but at the same time they had this desire to reach heights. So I forgive them."

The great thing about Ultrasound is that they harness prog's vaulting ambitions to some fine-toned pop. "I can appreciate standard song structures as much as someone who veers off into other worlds," Tiny concurs. "Like Blondie, it's so tight, like it was already written by a computer. This bit there, section, section, section, and what have you got? It's perfect pop."

Not that there is anything computer-generated about Ultrasound. In fact, Tiny talks about rock'n'roll as if it were some kind of religion. "I think rock'n'roll is a quest of faith," he says. "If as a band you can instil faith in people then it melds people who can take on the world and win. It should be something that reminds you why you're there in the first place, and we're doing it for real."

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