Indie pop electronic rock duo Ummagma have announced their new album ‘Compass’, to be released in June via Manchester-based label Leonard Skully Records. Their third long-play, this is the duo’s first album in seven years and also the first time the band is releasing a record on vinyl.
Ahead of this album, they present the ‘Caravan’ single, along with a special B-side ‘Ty i Ya’. The title track is an invigorating pop rock anthem inspired by the musicians’ own journeys and infused with Carpathian gammas and percussion.
‘Ty i Ya’ is a vibe-injected upbeat track, with infectious Daft Punk-esque bassline, that Alexander Kretov composed and performs in his native Ukrainian language. This is the first single Ummagma has ever released in a language other than English, stepping beyond the confines of past songwriting limits.
“Caravan is about a personal journey – one that begins in the mind before any borders have even been crossed,” says Ummagma vocalist Shauna McLarnon. “The trip is so much better when you truly want to be part of it. You map your own destiny in many ways and dreaming is a great place to begin.”
The ‘Compass’ LP is beguiling in its post-genre nature. It is an album of grace and change, of familiarity and exploration, of emotion and euphoria, of sky-scraping cinematic highs and intimate and intriguing lows. This is the sound of a band allowing themselves to jump creative divides, to kick down musical barriers, and rip up the rule book or perhaps just ignore the fact that there ever was one in the first place.
Formed in Moscow in 2003, McLarnon hails from northern Canada while Kretov is originally from western Ukraine. Now based in Peterborough, Ontario, the couple completed this album over the course of five years and multiple moves, ultimately hauling their studio with them across the Atlantic and setting up all over again. With such transience in the real world, how could their sonic world reflect anything other than the same fluidity and movement?
This record follows on the trail of their ‘LCD’ EP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Dean Garcia (Curve), and ‘Winter Tale’ EP with 4AD dreampop pioneer A.R.Kane. Both of these were released in 2017.
They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company that they keep, and the same holds true for a band. Ummagma’s collaborations speak volumes. Apart from these three dreampop-shoegaze icons, they’ve worked with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s Malcolm Holmes, Swervedriver’s Graham Bonnar, and nudisco kingpin Alexander Robotnick.
Ummagma’s music has always presented an exhilarating positive vision, showcasing their ability to wander diverse musical pathways. Representing Ukraine among 23 countries, they won the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio in 2013, and have been featured in a full-page spread in Rolling Stone Russia. In 2015, their collaborative ‘New Born’ album with Sounds of Sputnik also received a Jagermeister indie award, Russia’s most esteemed music award.
Ummagma’s ‘Caravan’ single is out on May 8. The ‘Compass’ LP will be released on June 21 via Leonard Skully Records, available on black vinyl and CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov and also digitally everywhere, including on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. In the meantime, it can pre-ordered directly via Bandcamp.
Photos by Oleksandra Kostiv. Photo collages by Kevin Wilbert
All songs written and performed by Ummagma
Music and arrangement by Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLarnon
Lyrics and vocals by Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLarnon
Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Alexander Kretov at Ummagma Studio
Publicity by Shameless Promotion PR
Cover design and artwork by Alexander Kretov at Ummagma Studio