This song is evil, and not just any evil, mind you. We’re talking serial killer stalking a pretty young white girl on a deserted city block, evil; gates of hell swinging open to a pit of vicious fire, evil; and, haunted house reality show where actual ghosts terrorize the charlatans, evil. With “Ultra,” the Chicago band Disappears have not only tapped into something which feeds innate emotional responses of mania, panic, and paranoia, but they’ve also done so on a nine-and-half minute track that’s surprisingly difficult to tune out. This isn’t camp or cliche. This is real horror.
The basic framework for “Ultra” is early 80s post-punk. The bass will ride the same note for measures as the cymbal hits like high heels on concrete, click, click, click, click. The guitars, meanwhile, only come in bits and pieces, clangs and clashes buried in the mix. The monotonous groove is occasionally broken, albeit, not in the manner one would prefer. The vocals, a scrambled series of foreboding lines like, “If you go, I’ll go,” grow nastier in tone. The clanks in the background become more aggressive, too. Later, a backwards track mimics Hollywood Horrors’ sound effect of a spirit set for havoc.
Should you play this track while out jogging, you’ll beat your best time. Should you use it to soundtrack trick-or-treat at your house, you’ll get all of the Snickers bars to yourself. Or, you can do as I’ve done, and repeat it until you’ve unearthed every audible note. It pulls you in like that, with a mad man’s grip. Disappears’ new album, Era, will be out 8.27 on Kranky Records, and Disappears fans, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. I’ve already burned through some good lines of what will be an ace review on just this track. I have a finite amount of good lines.