‘Black Flag’ by U.R.I (EP)
U.R.I is a prize-winning songwriter who’s got the backing of Frank Turner. So no pressure on his debut EP, then…
Indie-folk songwriter Uri Sade aka U.R.I lists some impressive songwriters among his influences, with Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, St Vincent, Radiohead Bjork & Bon Iver among those to receive his approval. With such artists informing his writing you’d expect delicacy and beauty on Black Flag, and you’d be right.
The title track was released as a teaser last month and its lithe finger-picking and trembling vocal suggested the unleashing of a writer in the vein of M. Ward and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. That sense remains, in a version that stays true to the original; however the songs it keeps for company hint at a writer with more in his locker.
Those hints are seen from the outset, when the Buckley influence runs strong in the graceful melodies and confident vocals of opener Back To The Ship. Like An Earthquake is a tender number and highlights the suitability of Sade’s voice to affecting indie as much as moving folk. It is, though, the subtle backing instrumentation that is of greatest interest, suggesting that Sade has as much an ear for what a song can become as for what it is.
This theme is repeated on Diamonds. However, having shown delicacy already, the track is most notable for Sade demonstrating the power and elasticity in his vocal. It’s Adjusted Virgin, though, that is the greatest advertisement of Sade’s vocal prowess. The most obvious Buckley reference point, it suggests that Sade position as a burgeoning vocal talent.
U.R.I. has chosen impressive inspiration on Black Flag. However, he also counts some noted writers among his fans, with Frank Turner, recent recipient of Songwriting’s ‘Album Of The Month’ award, having named him winner of the The Shure Songwriting competition two years ago. Whether that will translate into broader success is open to chance and luck as much has talent. Black Flag is more a demonstration of what might come as it is a marker of what currently is. But if talent wins out, then this could be the beginning of something special.
Verdict: Hints at the emergence of a serious songwriting talent