Photography by Nicole Estella Ibáñez

James Mellen
James Mellen

Bristol-based writer, specialising in musings on the world of music and fashion.

The eclectic London sextet Ugly return with ‘The Wheel’, an epic seven-minute post rock display

Since their formation in Cambridge in 2016, Ugly have cemented themselves as one of the most exciting and invigorating staples of the current wave of more experimental bands. Since 2017, the band have released a slew of slick singles, combining songwriting prowess with tight instrumentation and plenty of talking points.

Now, hot off the heels of supporting Black Country, New Road around the United Kingdom, the now London-based band have returned with ‘The Wheel’, an incredibly unique dose of art-rock, doused in elements of folk and post-rock, with some choral movements for good measure.

Opening with a choral passage is a bold move – even for the more left field artists – but it adds into the unpredictability and refusal to conform Ugly have become so well known for. The track works as a dizzying crescendo, jam-like flecks of bass jumping in around the two-and-a-half minute mark, frantic drumming and nightmarish string sections. Despite the delightfully bizarre nature of much of the track, the band hold an indie rock edge, chaotic harmonies still retaining a gorgeous melodic feel.

‘The Wheel’ is a daring move from the outfit, a slick cacophony of a multitude of genres, darting between frenzied noise passages and folk-tinted vocal moments – with some adroit grooves for good measure. It marks their first single of 2023, and is a strong foundation for whatever is to come next.

Listen to ‘The Wheel’ here: