Can't Get Started reviewed in The Wire   1 comment

If I ever wrote for The Wire I like to think it would read a bit like a cross between Clive Bell and Byron Coley, the former for his warmth and lucidity and the latter because he’s fuckin’ Byron Coley, dude! But that’s just what I like to think. Anyway, Mr Coley wrote something about something I did ages ago, it occurs to me now, and Mr Bell has recently done me the honour too. I’m really pleased with this review, so thanks very much.


Pete Um
Can’t Get Started
Grist 0005

It takes a while to enter Pete Um’s world: his songs are brief, dense and ramshackle; he revels in a reviewer’s dismissal of his live act as “grindingly awkward shithop”, and wears his self-doubt on his sleeve. Can’t Get Started is an ironic title, for Um is prolific across videos, blogs and music. But this 10″, a condensed Best Of, is a remarkable, coherent document, an excellent introduction to Um’s misfit creativity. Whoever compiled this, possibly associate Nochexxx, interviewed alongside Um for an article mapping the Alternative Cambridge music scene (The Wire 325) – has selected melancholy gems rather than eccentric freakouts. These 17 songs don’t waste your time, and repeated listenings underscore Um’s talent for crafting poetic vehicles carrying memories of Holger Czukay and Syd Barrett.
One of Barrett’s last songs was “Wolfpack”, and here is Um’s “Wolves”, in which the pursuing pack seems to be music itself. In spite of its howling and chanting, the song is delicate, a study of vulnerability. The subject recurs in “Built To Spill”, and “You Will Never Let Me Fall” has Syd-alike vocals, bathed in reverb and quivering guitar: “I’m a slow bomb, I’m a sad boy, but I will cure myself before you cure me.” Once you accept Um’s ad hoc working methods, realisation dawns that there isn’t a weak track here, and if there’s a fault, it’s that everything is too short. Um has an answer for that too: the sexual innuendo of “That’s Too Close”, in which a girl with sparkly lipstick chides him for not making his songs longer.

Clive Bell.



Oh yeah, hopefully there’ll be some actual real-life online record stores carrying this effort soon too, which is partly why I’m writing this, but if it isn’t embarrassing to buy your emotional ruin porn direct and you use the evil that is paypal or have some other clever suggestion then leave a comment or pete[dot]um[at]ntlworld[dot]com or however you’re supposed to express that. It’s going to be roughly £8 before p&p if yr in the UK, & if you wanted to talk about deals on CD-Rs to go with it you will find me very amenable.

Posted January 17, 2012 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

One response to “Can't Get Started reviewed in The Wire

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. great!

    the eye in the anuxz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: