Nowadays, anyone with a computer and Wi-Fi, no matter what recording gear used nor budget, can upload their own music to the world. It’s helped popular artists from Arctic Monkeys to Rebecca Black develop successful careers. However, some, if not most, musical artists on the Internet are just waiting to be discovered, and some are very entertaining and downright hilarious.
Right down to their name, a corny play on the name of a Teen Nick sitcom, the band/solo project (I’m not entirely sure which) Ucarly sounds like a joke. Their music has a humorous and bizarre quality to it, featuring lo-fi bedroom pop production not unlike a more lo-fi version of Neon Indian’s 2009 album “Psychic Chasms.” However, Ucarly can’t simply be written off as a joke, and on their latest album/EP (it’s only ten minutes), the singing throughout and the throwback and the bedroom quality production remind me a ton of Ariel Pink’s 2000s output such as “Worn Copy” or “The Doldrums” in a really flattering way.
There are six songs on this EP/album that runs at only nine minutes. The one-minute opener, “think ya no,” sets the tone for the album. It has bizarre pitch-shifted vocal experiments, cheesy synth horns, and a recording quality where the music sounds like it was recorded underwater. It is quickly followed by my favorite track on the album, “aminal wurld” (that’s not a typo). It starts out with a simple drum machine beat, etheral synths, and smooth singing, until, like the title may suggest, Ucarly found a setting on their keyboard that sounded eerily like a seal, and on first listen nearly had me in tears. The strangest part of the whole song though is that based on the barely-audible lyrics, it’s a love song. “aminal wurld” is basically “Muskrat Love” being performed by Ariel Pink. The hilariously titled “oprah 2,” the sequel to Ucarly’s previous song “oprah,” is a song with a nutty beat that I could see working well in a hip hop setting. Though the animalistic vocals towards the second half of the track make me wonder if Oprah would understand or appreciate this touching tribute.
Not all of the album is silly though. Dreamy ballads such as “ocean song” and “u stil <3 me” are very soothing and sweet on the ears. “ocean song” features section with a synth that could’ve worked well in an old horror movie, and “u stil <3 me” is the closest this album gets to a potential hit (at least something big in the indie circuit). Even with the odd drum production choices on “nevr understand,” there’s still a super memorable tune there, especially in the vocal melody.
I think the biggest compliment you could give this album is that there is seemingly endless creative potential that Ucarly has to make great and innovative music in the future. While all six songs on this album/EP are super short, they are packed with melodic and sonic detail that sticks in your head. By the end of this album, I just wanted to listen to more Ucarly. If they were to put out a much longer album in the future with longer songs, I’d listen to that too. I’d highly recommend this album to fans of lo-fi music, 2000s chillwave, vaporwave, and pop music in general. Keep up the good work, Ucarly.