Having been a fan for years, when the opportunity to review Ugly Kid Joe’s new album, ‘Uglier Than They Used Ta Be’, arose, I jumped at it. This is their first album release in 19 years, so I was eager to hear it and the first thing to hit me was the maturity that they have gained. Yes I know we are all older lol but this album is UKJ of today. The angst and anger is still so much present in their lyrics, but age has seasoned this band beautifully.
Opening track ‘Hell Ain’t Hard To Find’ showcases the heavy funky riffs that UKJ are well remembered for, and has my head nodding back and fro as I write. Whit Crane’s voice still has that soulful edge to it, as he tells us his story of seeking and finding something different. Second track ‘Let The Record Play’ is a great twist on a relationship breakup, by comparing the emotions to an old record back in the day. It will strike a chord with everyone who has had that bad ending, but retains a great upbeat melody. It’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. It’s also my favourite track on the album.
‘Bad Seed’ has a great gritty bass line and tells us about a person’s inner turmoil and struggle to fight back while ‘Mirror Of The Man’ is a slower laid back track, but with dark lyrics observing the state of people’s attitude towards the state of the world today. ‘She’s Already Gone’ brings the tempo back again and as the title suggests it’s about a relationship ending. ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ begins with just Whit’s vocals and a soft subtle guitar. The lyrics are about remembrance for all things past and lost.
‘My Old Man’ brings a much heavier guitar with the first guest appearance from Phil Campbell, and deals with the loss of a father who did not live up to his sons idea of a father. Phil also guests on the next track ‘Under The Bottom’ and the following track, being the first cover on the album, Motorhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’. ‘Enemy’ is another slow melodic track and again deals with lost and lonely people and their fight to survive themselves. The final track is another cover, ‘Papa Was A Rollin Stone’ with special guest Dallas Frasca.
After 19 years of silence album wise, this album contains all of what was and still is Ugly Kid Joe. From the dark undertone to the lyrics to the funky beats, as well as the covers, it has it all. I for one think it was well worth the wait.
Hell Ain’t Hard To Find / Let The Record Play / Bad Seed / Mirror The Man / She’s Already Gone / Nothing Ever Changes / My Old Man / Under The Bottom / Ace of Spades / Enemy / Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone
Recommended listening: Let The Record Play
Ugly Kid Joe kicked off their latest UK in Milton Keynes tonight (Monday). Remaining dates are as follows:
Tuesday 15 – Manchester, Soundcontrol
Thursday 17 – Glasgow, The Garage
Friday 18 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Saturday 19 – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
Sunday 20 – Reading, Bowery District
Tuesday 22 – Bournemouth, Sound Control
Wednesday 23 – Plymouth, The Hub
Thursday 24 – Bristol, Marble Factory
Friday 25 – Brighton, Concorde 2
Saturday 26 – London, Underworld (SOLD OUT)
Sunday 27 – London, Underworld
Tickets are available from Ticketmaster and all other usual outlets.
‘Uglier Than They Used Ta Be’ is released on Friday (September 18) on Metalville Records.