Far Out Magazine headed back to the Soup Kitchen basement in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter to catch Jack Cooper and James Hoare bring Ultimate Painting to life on stage.

After being blown away when this supergroup of sorts played the undercard on tour with White Fence earlier this year, there were high hopes for this one.

The set kicks off with the band’s eponymous first single, which has become a sort of theme tune for the project, marrying a toe-tapping riff with some wonderful harmonies that have the packed-out venue on side from the off.

In a week when Stone Roses hysteria has again hit Manchester, it is a refreshing contrast to see an outfit who have given us two great new albums in the space of little over a year.

There are influences as far-reaching as chamber and grunge on show tonight. That might appear nauseating on paper, but Cooper and Hoare are impressive in their ability to wrap up their smorgasbord of sounds into a more than listenable package.

There’s a trip through the more downbeat side of psychedelia during ‘Riverside’ and Cooper makes his appreciation known that the audience have chosen to spend their Bonfire Night with him.

Some probably consider Ultimate Painting to be an understated kind of an affair, but this remarkably tight four-piece are easily capable of turning it on and providing some fireworks of their own on demand.

The jangly perfection of ‘Central Park Blues’ is an undoubted highlight, but the real crescendo comes is the shape of an extended wig-out rendition of ‘Ten Street’, which sees the quartet lift off to a higher plane, taking each and every member of the audience with them.

If Ultimate Painting continue on their current trajectory they could and most definitely should be known as one of the most exciting new acts around. That goes for the records and the live show.

For a pair of songwriters who initially came to prominence with Mazes and Veronica Falls respectively, it looks as if Cooper and Hoare have raised the game yet further.

Patrick Davies

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