The Little Band with a huge D.I.Y. ethic
By Don Quan Translated
by Ann Lee Photos by Michael E
Check out song samples on their page:
Their blog (in Chinese): http://blog.yam.com/uta25
A newer band that is quickly gaining
recognition in the scene is the duo known as U. TA.
Comprised of singer/guitarist U-Ray and bassist Garry,
this pair has been together since 2005. While many underground
bands in Taiwan either adopt a heavier punk sound or
experiment with electronics in their music, U. TA elects
to keep music sparse and simple and uses only a strummed
acoustic guitar and electric bass. Occasionally they
will incorporate percussion or viola, but the stripped-down
sound is their trademark. This is in stark contrast
to Garry's other band, As Time Goes By, which performs
U-Ray's voice is reminiscent of Dolores
O'Riordan, which makes this band sound at times like
an unplugged version of The Cranberries. However, this
influence stems more from U-Ray's adulation of Hong
Kong pop megastar Faye Wong , who also shares a similar
vocal style with O'Riordan. U. TA's other influences
include ethereal trailblazers Cocteau Twins and American
indie darlings Mazzy Star and Yo La Tengo. Fans of any
of these bands will definitely dig the sound of U.TA.
Despite the pleasant melodies in their
songs, the lyrics are hardly about smiles and sunshine.
Song subjects on their homemade EP (everything about
the packaging was done by hand, including the woodcut
prints that comprise the CD cover) include ambiguous
or unrequited love and human despair. U-Ray says their
new songs are about “bad things and rotten people”
that she encounters in daily life.
The band recorded their debut EP in
Hualien and only began formal performances late last
year. Despite being relatively new to audiences, they
have won over many listeners with their entrancing shows.
They don't get the chance to gig that often right now,
as Garry is currently serving his mandatory army stint,
and U-Ray is busy with her other vocation as an artist.
However, they are expecting to perform as often as their
schedules permit, and also have plans to record new
material this summer.