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The best kept secret in music




You may not have heard a right lot of Undercut yet, but you're about to.

Where are they from? Answer, Bristol. You might be forgiven however for shrugging at mention of their name since they've spent the best part of the last six months or so sharpening their sound in a disused aircraft hangar. It seems to have left them rather disorientated.

" Two years worth of rehearsing in an aircraft hangar has produced a stadium sound, that's a dream we'd like to fulfil," confesses guitarist Sam Dyson. Obviously time passes a lot faster in an aircraft hangar!

Who's who? Besides Sam, Johnny Benn (vocals,) Wayne Jones (bass,) Dave Betts (rhythm guitar,) and Matt Albon, (drums.)

What's the deal? The deal is that there isn't one. In fact Undercut have been studiously avoiding the likes of Sony, Warners, BMG, EMI and Universal. Virgin have made noises too but the lads have stuck doggedly to their independence. Mind you they haven't been alone, they've had some pretty heavy duty support. Producers Ian Grimble, he of the Las, Manic Street Preachers, Mansun, was so overwhelmed by the demo he heard, that his services were offered for no charge, when album time came around. Equally enamoured was John Leckie ( Radiohead, Verve and Muse,) so with two of the country's finest keen to work with them it must have been a tough call.

" There was a lot of soul searching there," agrees Sam, " But we'd already done some work with Ian before, we knew he could get the best from us , but I'm sure we'd have been equally creative with John."

Determined to do their own thing, the band sank their own money into recording and formed their own Distiller Records to handle both " Soul Food Mother," the forthcoming November single and later album.

" It's a culmination of years of slog, we've got a wall of sound with delicious melodies," offers Dyson, " all our work has been worth it, Undercut has a fairly unique sound."

>From the advance CD Musicstuff's heard, those indecisive labels are going to be kicking themselves. A proud, strutting rock that's full of bite and melody the band are in no doubt about its potential…" After hearing the first song you feel like you've been kicked in the balls…"

Really? Care to redefine Sam?

" We're making the soundtrack for the Noughties."

No argument there.

Simon Jones. - Musicstuff.com


Undercut-Soul Food Mother

Undercut have been in an interesting position recently, the five-piece
band have attracted the attention of renowned producers John Leckie
(Radiohead, The Verve, Muse, etc) and Ian Grimble (The Las, Manic Street
Preachers, Mansun) whilst not managing to secure a record deal. The band
decided to take a risk and set up their own fully-fledged record label.
The band decided to go with Ian for production duties on this their
first self released single. The bands choice has been repaid a hundred
times over; Soul Food Mother is a fantastic first release. The title
track is an alternative indie rocker that has a real epic feel. The lead
vocals of Johnny Benn drip passion as the band clatter around him, a
deep croon that seduces the listener into the bands full-bodied sound.
The second track, Butterfly is just as impressive as guitars pulse and
the band step on and off the power allowing the chorus to really hit
home. The final number, Coming Back Down To Earth has the band stripped
down to acoustic guitars, showing another side to the band, it reminds
me a little of Sunhouse, which can only be a good thing as far as Im
concerned. Undercut have produced an excellent debut single that will
hopefully earn the band more exposure, an excellent band that deserve
every success.

For more details www.undercutmusic.com <http://www.undercutmusic.com/> - Rhythmandbooze.com


o here we are strolling up to the “pretty much sold out” Wonder stuff gig expecting to see a huge line slithering round the side of the building, alas, no. Maybe we were late? So we go in, only to see the emptiest I’ve ever seen the academy. That aside, we go to the bar and get a pint, waiting for the 1st band to start. With only about 60 people in the room, Bristol’s very own Undercut come onto the stage, pick up their guitars and start playing. At this point me and my friend stare at each other as the vocals coming out sounded exactly like Jason Wade of Lifehouse. Undercut went on to mix their rock style with hints of reggae, electronica and such bands as Jimmy Eat World through out the rest of their set. In short they were great (check them out at: www.undercutmusic.com)
- Heathenangel.co.uk


UNDERCUT `Soul Food Mother' (CDS) Distiller Records (2004)
Debut single from a Bristol based band that have set-up their
record label to get this single and ensuing debut album out - there's
self-belief for you. Was it worth it? Yes most definitely as `Soul
Food Mother' is a cracking rock tune with a soaring chorus and catchy
too boot. `Butterfly' is a spacey number and does little for me
but `Coming Back Down To Earth' hits the spot. An angst filled number
driven by acoustic strumming, shades of David Gray in there.
Watch out for this band as they look to have rosy future and have
the tunes to back up their undoubted musical talent.

Jason Ritchie
- Getreadytorock.com

"Drowned In Sound.com"

Undercut remind me of nothing more than U2. And I hate U2. But I like Undercut.

It's not that they sound like them. Thank God. It's the overall feel - the trick of being as epic as it's possible to be within three minutes and forty-one seconds, whilst simultaneously keeping one's feet firmly on the ground. The ability to be fresh and youthful and yet retain a strong maturity. The fact that the chorus almost passes you by while you're listening to the song, but won't leave you alone when you press stop.

But 'Soul Food Mother' doesn't sound like U2. It sounds like Therapy? in a mellow mood, or Del Amitri with an injection of youth and a good kick up the arse. It's a sound big enough to fill the aircraft hangar the band have been rehearsing in, but tight and focused with it. Most of all, it's the sound of a band with a bright future. I like. - Drowned In Sound.com

"Single Review"

‘Soul Food Mother’ is the debut release by Bristol based rockers Undercut on their own label Distiller Records, which in my opinion was wisely set up as their own record deals were surprisingly slow materializing considering the quality of this band. The move to set up their own label was one that has obviously paid off with this fantastic release. ‘Soul Food Mother’ is a fantastic track that isn’t too rock and roll, its just right. As well as being a song to really get into, it’s a song that you could quite easily put on as music to sit down and chill out to, combined with a catchy chorus that makes this song a real winner. This is a fantastic start for the band, and along with hearing some of the tracks from the forthcoming album it can clearly be seen this band is on their way to much bigger and better things.

Rating: 9/10
- Heathenangel.co.uk



Undercut -
Thu Nov 18 17:52:57 2004

Rated 10 out of 13 [details]

Click the image for a full gallery

by Daniel Bristow


Inciting interest from two legendary producers, John Leckie and Ian Grimble, who have worked with Radiohead and The Las respectively, Undercut excite on reputation alone. The quintet have decided to establish their own record label, Distiller Records, and release their debut single ‘Soul Food Mother’ through that. Ambition isn’t lacking from this group of Bristolian indie-rockers.
Nor is a solid and refreshing sound, ‘Soul Food Mother’ is an intelligent and catchy song, emanating a distinct acumen for modern life and an intellect that supersedes most in the current state of popular music. The coming of Undercut is welcome and invigorating change from the abundance of ‘mathematical’ emo that so clogs up the arteries of today’s airwaves.
The band decided in the end, on employing the services of Ian Grimble to produce their sound, no hard feelings though, as John Leckie described ‘Soul Food Mother’ as a “killer hit.” It’s undeniable from the interest that they’ve gained and obvious from the noise they produce that Undercut are able enough to join the ranks of good British bands pulling music through this stale and uninspiring moment in pop history. Undercut’s name could soon find itself alongside other respectable British titles: Snow Patrol, The Music, Biffy Clyro…This is new music, rather than ‘nu’ music!
First B-side, ‘Butterfly’ has the succulent feel of a trippy Verve tune and then unexpectedly launches into a hard-driven chorus worthy a short burst of dance. Johnny Benn’s vocals on this track have an epic quality about which transform the song from a mellow, swirly verse to a grand chorus, through a bout of transmogrified psychodelia and back again.
‘Coming Back Down To Earth’ seems to intone a political conscience with lyrics such as “You’re proud to give the orders, you take no time to justify.” Fittingly, the song begins with an acoustic guitar and vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on R.E.M’s striking new release ‘Around The Sun.’ The chorus is full and harmonious and fulfilling like a Coldplay chorus. Undercut prove with this track the elasticity of their repertoire, from big rockers to sweet acoustics, all delivered in sonic-scale.
With a style and authenticity that can stand proud in British music, Undercut should congratulate themselves on being able to produce something that breaks the norm.

Track Listing
01 - Soul Food Mother
02 - Butterfly
03 - Coming Back Down To Earth
- Roomthirteen.com


Debut single is scheduled for release towards the end of January.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Fittingly, for a band that spent six months rehearsing in an aircraft hangar, the Undercut sound is ambitious and immense; the epic single ‘Soul Food Mother’, the intense second track ‘Butterfly’ and the soul-rending melody of ‘Coming Back Down to Earth’ were tailor-made to be heard in packed arenas across the globe.

Bristol-based Undercut – Johnny Benn (vocals), Sam Dyson (guitar/backing vocals), Wayne Jones (bass), Dave Betts (rhythm guitar) and Matt Albon (drums) – thought this was where they were heading when a demo fell into the hands of Ian Grimble (The Las, Manic Street Preachers, Mansun), who was so impressed he worked on a couple of tracks for free. These tracks turned up on the desk of one John Leckie (Radiohead, The Verve, Muse), who loved them so much he wanted to produce their debut album.

With Grimble and Leckie both offering their services, Undercut found themselves in the unenviable position of having two of the country’s most acclaimed producers interested to work on their debut album and no record label to release it. The Grimble-produced tracks had Sony, Warners, BMG, Universal, V2 and Parlophone/EMI talking deals. But with mergers, acquisitions and plummeting share prices to worry about, the deals themselves were painfully slow in materialising.

Fearful of losing their two trump cards, they decided to put their own money where the A&R men’s mouths were and set up a fully-fledged label, Distiller Records, themselves. It’s a brave move, but one they felt compelled to make.

As for which of the two producers got to do the honours, it wasn’t a decision taken lightly…

“No, there was a lot of soul searching there,” admits Sam. “But because we had worked with Ian before we knew that he could get the best from us, but I’m sure we would have had an equally creative experience with John Leckie”.

On listening to ‘Soul Food Mother’, it’s clear they made the right choice. Not to overplay the theme of fate and destiny, but as ‘Soul Food Mother’ rocks out to the chorus, it does so with a reassuring sense that some things are just meant to be. Or to use the words of the esteemed Mr Leckie, it sounds unmistakably like a “killer hit”.