Ulrika Spacek return with their second album, Modern English Decoration. Much like their debut released in early 2016, the band chose to record, produce and mix the entirety of the record in their shared house – a former art gallery called KEN, so named because of a cryptic inscription found above the front door. Not just a studio and home, KEN is essentially the band's hub, a space in which the surrounding ephemera of videos, artwork and even band photos are all created.
Given the lyrics often favor abstraction and the vocals can be more impressionistic than declarative, the album title itself offers perhaps the most telling entry point to the record. In part, it's a self-effacing play on an interior design cliché that references the meticulous creative processes the band adheres to. There's also a nod towards the environment in which it was created – a Victorian house turned art gallery turned home studio. While there's an element of domesticity to the album's creation, the themes that drive the songs are anything but, reflecting an all-too-common sense of mid-20s alienation and anxiety, alongside the comforts/burdens of self-awareness.
The bass and drums provide a versatile anchor, at once soft, then aggressive, while the vocals drift woozily in and out, like druggy hindsight or skewed premonition. With three guitarists in the band guitars were always going to be central to the music, but what is less expected is the dynamic interplay between the trio that suggests a three-headed version of the Verlaine-Lloyd axis at the heart of Television. What's more, the absence of reverb is integral, in part attributable to the ambience of the studio, but also a conscious decision in order to add focus. And focus is the abiding term: this is an album designed to be just so - a 45 minute commitment, a surrender.