Univore, a Chicago and Portland-based duo light up the air with their refreshingly creative and honest 12-track trip, Conch. Destined for more than just background music, but likely on its way to be several conversation starters, Univore puts into motion relatable sounds that make for a heck of a great time.
On Facebook Univore calls their genre “experimental rock, electronic and adult contemporary.” I would definitely agree, but encourage listeners to be open minded and not rule out flashes of funk, jazz, and a world music vibe. These songs spoke to me and put me in a state of being at the beach, but other times, it just felt like a killer buzz and night out under the stars. The winds just a breeze, but the air full of their magic. At other times, I was mesmerized by the slow dance and background subtleties.
David Bachmann and Nicholas Flandro are the duo behind Univore and they do have some special guests appear on Conch. These include Sagan Jacobson at vocals and guitars. Jacobson takes the lead on “Fun in the Sun,” “Cheeseburger Beach,” “Aether,” Arroyo Parts 1 and 2” and “Miracles.” Bryan Doherty is on bass. I imagined a pseudo electronic tennis match occurring between Bachmann and Flando in writing Conch. Portland and Chicago are just over 2,100 miles apart. The distance is never felt; only the strength of the pair’s originality and viewpoints.
Conch is Univore’s sixth album to date – following last year’s Time Crystal, 2015’s Mysteries, 2013’s Beasts from a Silk Womb, 2011’s Love Letters (spoken word) and 2010’s Casale Project. Univore intrigues the listener and their art continues to shine.
As a listener you feel not only like floating along a dream of your making, but you’re at such ease you stumble across musical prisms. “Meet Me at the Petroglyphs” is not only an instrumental, but it’s a perfect song to incorporate into a meditation. Listen to your breaths – take in the quirky sounds and vibrations. There’s not a sour note or sunburned measure on “Cheeseburger Beach” or “Fun in the Sun.” It’s fun and funky at the same time.
“Miracles” and “Geometricaly Speaking” cultivate a world of flashes, jazzy riffs (borderline hard rock and punk reverbs) and cascading sounds. For sure these tracks are quirky, but oh so delicious and memorable.
Overall, Univore garners a solid A rating for Conch. It took a few listens to a few of the tracks (“That Night We Drank the Volcano” and “Foreign Pollen”) to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of this band, but embrace the weird and sit back and take in all that there is to drink, eat, and be awash with the Univore wave. Conch is a trippy ride. Give it a listen, and leave it on in the background. Or crank it up. Fans of the The Grateful Dead, moe (strangely enough they do have an album called The Conch), Keller Williams, Disco Biscuits, The String Cheese Incident and some of 80s New Wave bands (possibly) will like what they hear on Conch.