Fronted by Jakob Armstrong, the youngest son of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Ultra Q share new single ‘VR Sex’ as well as announcing debut album My Guardian Angel out 9th June 2023 via Royal Mountain Records.
Premiering on BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders last night, ‘VR Sex’ looks toward shoegaze / dreampop as well as being inspired by My Chemical Romance’s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
On the new single Armstrong said, "’VR Sex’ was the last song I wrote for this album. By the end of the writing process, I really didn’t have any idea what this record was going to be. Stylistically, It was mostly leaning toward shoegaze / dreampop with a few outliers here and there. When you write this many songs over a long period of time, eventually your taste is going to change and your interest will wane. This is the point where I rediscovered my love for MCR, specifically the second album. It deals with the period of time shortly after a close friend nearly passed in a car accident.”
Ultra Q’s debut album My Guardian Angel was produced by Chris Coady ( TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House) and it offers a deep sonic palette to match Armstrong’s artistic ambition. Wildly vacillating between widescreen pop-punk (‘Klepto’, the impeccably titled ‘VR Sex’), romantic new-wave (‘Rocket’, ‘I Wanna Lose’), and shimmering synth-pop (‘I Watched Them Go’), the album displays Armstrong’s songwriting talents—along with the musicianship of Kevin Judd and brothers Chris and Enzo Malaspina—conceived and recorded for maximum impact.
Emotional growing pains, sleepless nights, the ethereal allure of romance, and the notion of sound being so closely attached to memory are all wrapped up in clever guitar interplay reminiscent of the band’s formative influences, but delivered in an identity all their own. The words are attached to feelings we think are going to slip away from us in the fading and tarnished pallor of adulthood; truth be told, those feelings emerge just as freshly the older we get.
Armstrong adds about the album, "I don’t think there is a direct narrative to the album. But I can speak to the place I was in when writing. The record is about loss, and isolation. It’s about dealing with traumatic, life sized events that you don’t know how to confront until you do. Working on this project was my way of dealing with things. I don’t always know how to put it into words, but it’s the process and the feeling that helped me. Whether it’s yelling my favorite New Order lyrics over and over ("Saturday"), or the double time ravaging of the drums in "VR Sex". As cheesy as it may sound, writing this album was my guardian angel."
And that is the gift of My Guardian Angel, the implicit understanding that growth is merely a tool we use to better process the past slipping away from us.
My Guardian Angel is out 9th June via Royal Mountain Records