For The Ride is the latest EP from URF, a neo-Psychedelic five-piece from Manchester. They have been working on this record since their debut single ‘Athena’ was released in 2017.
Their hard work has paid off. They have managed to carve their own space in a city where there is hardly a shortage of budding UK rock bands, and are currently discussing festival lineups with promoters. The record is captivating and full of energy. It’s impossible to stop this EP mid-way as each track is full of surprises, contrasts and new directions.
URF’s sound is distinctive and unique. They combine neo-psychedelia and shoegaze and sound like a mixture of new wave bands of the 1980s, such as The Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees, and 1990s Brit-rock bands, such as Elastica and Suede.
Their music is guitar-based and riff-driven, with riffs that are spacey, intricate and complemented by the strong, raspy vocals of their frontwoman, Abbi Parcell, her voice reminiscent of Patti Smith. Their poetic lyrics, about the uncertainty of contemporary life and relationships, are sung with a gritty emotion. The chunky pulsating drums and slippery bass grooves hold the tracks up.
The EP’s first track ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ is a prime example of the light and dark in their music. Starting with a dark, simple guitar part, the song builds tentatively, gradually getting brighter and louder. They effortlessly slip from clean chorused-effect grooves to loud chaotic distortion, reminding you of the Foo Fighters.
‘Night Driving’ is atmospheric and dark, reminiscent of Warpaint and Depeche Mode. The imagery is strong and the chorus where Abbi yells “take me into the night” is satisfying. The moment of silence before the bridge was particularly powerful before the stripped-back outro.
The highlight of the EP, for me, comes in their final self-titled track, ‘For The Ride’. At six minutes long, this track is considerably slower in pace than the others. However, the electric guitar breakdown in this song around the fourth minute makes for a great EP finale.
As a fan of bands such as Skunk Anansie and Flyleaf, I was excited to discover another female-fronted rock band. I am intrigued by what this interesting band will pull out the bag next. They are definitely making it on my ‘to see live’ list.
Ella Patenall is a musician from North London who plays guitar and sings backing vocals in an acoustic duo. She loves writing about all things musical and keeps up a blog. In her spare time she also enjoys going to gigs, collecting vinyl and boxing. In her day job, she works as a marketing executive.