Somewhere in between the ubiquitous brit-rock of The Rolling Stones, the distortion-addled stylings of The Black Keys, and the poppy synth work of the Gorillaz exists Tommy Newport, the Wichita native who has been consistently making waves on the indie scene over the last few years. Newport pulls no punches about existing in many genres at once as he explains, "My battle, like so many other artists, is the constant evolution of my sound and wanting to always try new things. I prefer to exist in many different worlds sonically at once.” It feels like an injustice to label Newport as just pop, or just indie. The product with which he is associated, is, by necessity, a conglomeration of his influences; influences that vary widely across an array of genres and niches.
Ultra Mango is an innately cinematic listening experience, just as much of Newport's work is movie-like in its frenetic pace and dazzlingly vivid visuals. Incorporating his previous four singles with new tracks "Sweetener" and "Ultra Mango", the EP provides the coherent vision teased by the all the previously released tracks. The project is a catch-all of funky basslines, filtered vocals, and garage rock guitars that cautiously interplay against Newport's nostalgic savoir faire.
From the opening bass notes of "Sweetener", the anachronistic crooner drips in an ambitiously infectious aura that just seems to exist effortlessly. "Ultra Mango" is a similarly catchy and delicious bass-heavy cut that lends itself as much to a Saturday Night Fever remake as it does to a low key night among friends. "Marigold" and "Warp Speed Suzie" continue to function as confidently fashionable anthems that do their job in providing a platform for the undeniable sonic audacity of Newport. "Yellow Lines" and "Shooting Star" give the project some finality without losing any steam as a result.
Newport produced the EP in conjunction with frequent collaborator 4th Pyramid, tour DJ for Jazz Cartier and engineer to Black Eyed Peas and the Wu-Tang Clan. This experience shines through as this is easily Newport's most lushly arranged record to date. Every moment of listening is injected with steady instrumentation and a reflexive sense of self that assures one that the Wichita artist knows exactly where his sonic origins lie.