Set to become your new favourite band, My Ugly Clementine is made up of three visionaries from Vienna’s thriving music scene – Sophie Lindinger, Mira Lu Kovacs, and Nastasja Ronck. Their latest release, ‘The Good Life’ is the next step in their dream of conquering Europe and sets its sights fiercely on the UK charts. An overview of everything there is to love about the band, the record combines their unique blend of grunge-heavy guitars, anthemic hooks, and timeless slacker vibes with elements of pop-punk and classic Britpop-influenced harmonies. Their debut album ‘Vitamin C’ saw them receive accolades and celebration across Europe and now, three years later, they hope to capture the hearts of UK audiences. Full of ambiguities and uncertainties, the title of the record wonderfully sets up the journey that listeners are set to go on over a whopping 12 tracks. One could take the title at face value, inferring that the record is going to be one of unbridled joy and marshmallowey happiness, which whilst wonderful and apt for a summer release, would mark a change in pace and tone for the group. Similarly with their debut release, we can suspect that a widely positive and optimistic term such as ‘Good Life’ or ‘Vitamin C’ is going to be looked at and picked apart from a whole host of different perspectives. Will everything be smooth sailing and good? Only one real way of truly finding out. 

Opened by ‘Circles’, the album kicks off with a sweet, uplifting and summery tone. The rhythm and pace of the track has a really youthful feel, perhaps made all the more apparent by the slightly fuzzy sound overall which is reminiscent of the early 2000s. A message of friendship and sisterhood, the melody is wonderfully catchy and the lyrics are easy enough to sing along to before the song is over. 

‘But us friends, we’re close. Don’t you fade away, we’ll be here today. You might run in circles, drown yourself in work, but we’re here, waiting for you.’

The ending of the track is rather interesting in terms of the way it doesn’t truly reach a resolution. The final chord doesn’t culminate to a button or a neat close, instead lingering and holding on to the emotion and feel the track has built up. A fantastically friendly introduction, My Ugly Clementine start as they mean to go on, aiming to please and spark a sense of joy. The intention of the title within this song is abundantly clear; it’s about the band as a collective, providing community, about the group as a means to get closer to that Good Life, a joint effort to make dreams and visions come true. As new listeners meeting this band for the first time, we can see the passion and zest they bring to their music and songwriting. 

It is followed by ‘Are You In’ which without any warning takes a real existential turn. The lyrics speak to how our perception of ‘the good life’ has become warped and unpicks the way in which we as a society are striving towards and exhausting ourselves trying to attain a lifestyle which is impossible: a dream. The lyrics are almost anthemic in the way they discuss issues of corporate capitalism, our tendencies to overwork, and the ways in which creativity and spontaneity have been eclipsed by productivity and marketability. The harmony lines are reminiscent of Boygenius’ ‘Satanist’ and interestingly compliment the very different backdrop of heavy guitar distortion. Overall, the track seeks to enlighten listeners, reminding them that whilst we may have these rose tinted lenses on what the ‘good life’ should be, we can still find happiness in a world that asks so much of us. 

In quite the shift, ‘Too Much’ takes a break from uplifting and high octane melodies and rhythms instead embodying a more complex melancholy tone. It is far slower than what we have heard before and notedly has far less instrumentation, all really taking listeners by surprise. Without wanting to give up all their secrets, the magic in the song is the way it builds up slowly, layering the vocals to create a dreamy soundscape you could just get lost in. The use of repetition, both melodic and lyric, works particularly well and places real emphasis on the image of being left alone at a table set for two. For a track that is so sombre, it is a real early highlight on the record.

Another highlight is ‘No’, track 6. Simply put, it is a vehicle for musical madness and the band truly throw everything and the kitchen sink at this number. The raw recording starts with the sound of laughter and the immediately funny cowbell, before jumping right into a chant lyric that repeats over and over. You get the impression call and response line would work brilliantly in a live setting, allowing everyone involved to let their hair down and let loose. Kovacs explained in the writing of the album, they wanted to just focus on playing the songs and enjoying that process. Touching upon this motivator, she wrote:

‘It kept me ecstatic. It was like I found something new that feels like something that I had never experienced before.’

This drive to just have fun shines through crystal clear on this track. Whilst you could sit and try to analyse and pick apart the deeper meanings behind the lyrics, the real emotion and sensation that comes through on the track is one of just wanting to make music with your friends. This emphasis on messing around, trying something new, and most importantly having fun whilst doing it, is truly the epitome of what ‘The Good Life’ is all about. 

The  joy and appetite for fun exhibited by My Ugly Clementine is something that spans far further than just their songwriting. The ways in which they have taken certain tracks and created accompanying music videos allows us as the listener to gain more insight into their intentions behind their music, but also offers us the opportunity to just see who the band are as people. The video for ‘Feet Up’, the tenth track on the album, is one that is particularly rambunctious and joyous. Full of references and nods to other works, the video sees the trio take on nearly every iconic moment from the 90s and 00s alternative canon, including that moment from Blink 182’s ‘Whats My Age Again’. Channelling their influences and inspirations through both their songwriting and the direction of their videos, it is clear just how big fans these gals are of music and their joy in being able to exist and pay homage to their heroes is neverending. 

Alongside the album comes a European tour set to kick off in their native Austria in September. For fans in the UK, tickets for their one show in London are available as they take on the Old Blue Last in early October. As they embark on this journey, they’ve already invited fans to keep an eye on their social media which boasts some 12k followers. Promising shenanigans and all sorts of madness, they are not ones to miss.  

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