Even a Restraining Order Can't Help You

Ultratone (Dadork Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

After one listen, I decided Ultratone's debut disc didn't have anything to offer. After two listens, I found one or two songs that stuck out. After three listens, I was subconsciously humming half the disc. That's the way Ultratone's music works: it's cool rhythms and covert hooks sneak up on you and before you know it the disc has been in your CD player two months.

Ultratone is led by Joe Scheirich, who formerly fronted the local band Joe's Report. The whole disc is WFPK-ready; the songs are short on bells and whistles and long on heartfelt songwriting that goes beyond surface emotions to capture the bittersweet essence of things like being in and out of love.

The best two cuts, "Loser's Club" and "Once in a While," kick off the disc and come closest to having sing-along hooks. The rest of the album is strictly Adult Alternative, a sound that Ultratone has nailed, as it moves through melancholy tracks like "Never Get You Back" and "The Girl That Never Was."

There's certainly nothing cheery about Ultratone and even the more upbeat songs like "Hangover" have a taste of sadness to them. But Ultratone doesn't dip into sappiness or fake self-pity; instead it mirrors the common laments of life with emotional depth and beautiful sincerity.