Photo: James Padget Watson
MKB ULTRA's self-titled first album (2016) was a catalogue of life experiences as well as the imaginings of something mysterious and beautiful right around the corner -- Songs responding to romantic betrayal (Fire Sign), student debt (That Was Then and This is Now), an anthem for mutiny (Black Ship) or an epic fairly tale about a psychedelic epiphany on the battle field (Strange Attractors) are mingled together with a defiant sense of optimism all expressed through relentless grooves and guitar riffs. "I wanted these songs to have a heavy sound that seduced you into movement...the rest came by way of our collaboration".
After exchanging two members, the remaining group decided to make a new record and they were joined by the dexterous brilliance of Patrick Lenon on drums and veteran Seattle musician - Laura Weller Vanderpool (formerly of Capping Day and The Green Pajamas) on guitar and harmonies. Evolving gradually, the band has played clubs and festivals in the Pacific Northwest to critical acclaim. The second album, Folk Medicine (2019) is a little more visceral and focused with songs exploring new territory. Themes of ancient history or dressing for the apocalypse are rendered into the hybrid groove-rock songs MKB ULTRA has become known for -- a melodic core and a little math all permeated by the voices of ghosts, gods and sirens trapped between the earth and the sky. Melodic waltzes bathed in walls of distortion, a haunting seance of layered guitars, hypnotic vocal harmonies and not-quite-subliminal poetic messages about daring to create something new, refuting the "doom porn" of the daily news cycle and choosing to surrender to whatever the music inspires in you -- all combine to form the sound of MKB ULTRA.