Ulver – A Quick Fix of Melancholy – Review


A Quick Fix of Melancholy (Jester/The End)
by Ewan Wadharmi

The strings are plucked, and the notes drip into rippling pools over and over like Chinese water torture. Lying in bed with eyes wide open, the sound increasing is a trick of the mind. Anticipating the next drop. Quasi-classical orchestration and operatic divas create beautiful and nightmarish arias. The harrowing voices serve as instrumentation, any message they carry is lost in the gripping texture. It’s all irresistibly sinister, like the sounds in the mind of a serial killer. “Doom Sticks” takes on a twisted Nutcracker mood. Music boxes are melted by warbling synthesizers and charred soldiers march to severe violins. The tortured chants in “Vowels” step through shimmering bells and plodding strings like death knells. Plenty of tension is built before the climactic release of “Eittlane.” Once the instruments fill in and merge with the voices, there’s a sort of weary triumph that drips with regret. A Quick Fix… is pretentious, self-indulgent, and completely enjoyable. Melancholy may be too light a term for this grim gem.
(331 Rio Grande #58 SLC, UT 84101)