Austin trio Ume (pronounced “oo-may”) is all about struggle. In February, their guitarist fractured her elbow. Then the band ran out of money in the midst of recording their highly-anticipated debut album, Phantoms. And while on tour, their van broke down, costing the group more money that they didn’t have. These kinds of problems can make or break a young band, but for Ume, it’s thankfully more of the former.
Lauren Larson has been making music with her husband Eric since the two were 15-year-old best friends. A few years ago, they decided to recruit a drummer and form a power trio, with Lauren on guitar and vocals and Eric on bass. The result is Ume, one of the most promising Austin acts in a long time, and one of the best live bands around. 2009 saw the self-release of their EP Sunshowers, and after Rolling Stone named them the nation’s best unsigned band, local label Modern Outsider inked a record deal. And after dozens of starts and stops, Phantoms finally saw the light of day this past August.
But this sense of conflict creeps its way into Ume’s music, making for an exhilarating listen. Lauren Larson makes a case for herself as the best local guitarist on songs like “Captive.” It’s heavy and loud, but with a melodic sense courtesy of Lauren’s electrifying solos and dynamic voice. With songs like these, Ume won’t be struggling for too much longer.