Posts Tagged ‘Universal’

Bertie Blackman – Pope Innocent X Review

Kerry McElroy RetoucherCranky Mermaid Ink

If you had ever listened to Bertie Blackman before, there were never any doubts as to the quality of her next album, it was more a question of what mind state will come through. ‘Pope Innocent X’ manages to showcase the many personalities of Bertie Blackman and is really a captivating 40 minute musical  glide through Bertie Blackman’s quirky imagination.

By far her most personal album to date, the first Bertie Blackman you encounter on the album in ‘Tremors’ is the classic Bertie Blackman of albums past, intense, eerie, but yet so delicate and fragile. ‘Tremors’ was perhaps the embrace of the “sense of loneliness” that Bertie holds dear, and the outline for the imaginative journey that ‘Pope Innocent X’ was about to provide.

Second track ‘Mercy Killer’ is the first insight into the creative world of Bertie Blackman. A fun upbeat pop track, ‘Mercy Killer’ manages to encapsulate the joys of imagination whilst similarly acknowledging the harsh realities of real life. It is also perhaps our favourite song from the album, and an appropriate choice for debut single.

By the time we reach ‘Growl’ the imagination of Bertie Blackman has truly been uncaged, experimenting with horns, growls and tormenting synths that push your listening to the brink. These mid-album tracks are the most raw and original with ‘Boy’, ‘Accordion Boat’ and ‘Stella’ the perfect embodiment of joyful fantasies run wild.

However, all good things must come to an end and so begins the wind down of happiness with ‘Hide and Seek’ and ‘Shadow Chasers’. The bizarre bouncing brass section and synth scraping sounds on ‘Maps’ signals the final and frightening return of reality for Bertie Blackman.

Pope Innocent X closes with the slow and haunting ‘Mistakes’, a not so happy ending for a fantastical musical journey. If anything ‘Mistakes’ showcases the harsh reality of loneliness, that despite the fun of imagination, there is always an undercurrent of emptiness, and brings the album to an almost movie like close.

Bertie Blackman’s fourth album left Bertie herself proclaiming “I’m really proud about this piece of work”. And quite rightly too, as ‘Pope Innocent X’ managed to turn the intense influence of an introvert’s isolation into an outstanding musical journey through the psyche of a true artist.

Bertie Blackman – Boy

Kerry McElroy RetoucherCranky Mermaid Ink

If Bertie Blackman‘s new album Pope Innocent X wasn’t already one of the most anticipated and potentially exciting releases for 2012, the release of second single ‘Boy‘ should surely make this the case.

‘Boy’ features that synonymous all round Bertie Blackman quirkiness and eclecticism. The bass line bounds, the guitars screech, and the keys just tickle your emotions throughout. But it is the honking of horns, combined with the rich percussion that adds that extra element of something special to ‘Boy’. ‘Boy’ also comes with a amazing and appropriately quirky video clip that was directed and animated by fellow musicians Quan Yeomans (of Regurgitator) and Celeste Potter (Ouch My Face). The animation is incredible and reminds me slightly of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’. Regardless it suits the song perfectly – fun, different, and deliciously enjoyable.

Pope Innocent X hits stores October 12th, and having listened to the album already I can promise it will justify the hype. It’s something special.

The Universal – Tour Dates


Evan Jones, Cameron Urquhart, Blair Hall and Isaac Bradbury are The Universal, a Brisbane four piece whose music pensioners have been caught referring to as a ‘Racket’.

They have recently released their Triple J played single ‘Sexual Intellectual’ which is ripped off their forthcoming EP ‘Thrill House’ due out at the end of this month. To celebrate the boys have announced a big East Coast tour, headlining some of their own shows, and playing a number of other gigs with fellow Brisbane indie mates the Jungle Giants. The Universal are a band with a lot of potential, so be sure to catch them while their on the up.

Tour Dates

August 2 – ED CASTLE – Adelaide, SA

August 4 – THE LOFT – Warrnambool, VIC

August 10 – THE NEWMARKET HOTEL – Bendigo, VIC

August 11 – JIVE BAR – Adelaide, SA*

August 17 – ELSEWHERE  – Gold Coast, QLD*

August 18 – THE ZOO – Brisbane, QLD*

August 22 – BEACH ROAD HOTEL – Bondi, NSW*

August 23 – TRANSIT BAR – Canberra, ACT*

August 24 – CAMBRIDGE HOTEL – Newcastle, NSW*

August 25 – GOODGOD SMALL CLUB – Sydney, NSW*

August 31 – BENDED ELBOW – Geelong, VIC

 +Melbourne show to be announced shortly

 *The Universal appearing with The Jungle Giants on these shows only.