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Ugly Kid Joe – Uglier Than They Used Ta Be – Album Review

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Ugly Kid Joe
Uglier Than They Used Ta Be
‎UKJ Records
Release Date: 18 September 2015
Review by Matt Bolton

Ugly Kid Joe last left us with Motel California back in 1996 and now they are back with a hard rocking full-length record. We got a taste with their 2012 EP release of Stairway to Hell proving good things are to come and they have unleashed what will surely not disappoint. From the first track, ‘Hell aint hard to find’ it feels like it’s the 90’s again with a stomping riff and Whitfield Crane’s distinct vocals. I’ve followed Crane from his many side projects with bands such as Medication and fronting Life of Agony at one stage; however it’s good to see him back with his baby, back where he belongs. Hard hitting riffs aplenty giving you songs to stomp your head to on both, Let The Record Play and personal favourite Bad Seed. Crane gives Scott Weiland a run for his money.

Mirror the Man shows UKJ’s softer side with a nice acoustic track, with Crane crooning, very Layne Staley-like. A solo played on the acoustic is a breath of fresh air. She’s Already Gone is another favourite with its lead melody and a nifty solo thrown in for good measure. Under the Bottom is a standout track with a lot going on and a very Black Sabbath influenced riff around the 4-minute mark. Phil Campbell of Motörhead provides a cameo with a cover of Ace of Spades and the album closes with Enemy, another classic UKJ song. The band takes up the tempo for the last minute ending with a blast.

If the band’s tight musicianship isn’t enough with the likes of Shannon Larkins’ flawless drum work and Cranes’ unmistakable vocals, Phil Campbell also lends his guitar skills for original tracks My Old Man, with some inspiring solos and on the aforementioned Under the Bottom.

Ugly Kid Joe is most welcome to the ‘90s revival as they join Faith No More and the like, providing us with music that has a meaning.

 

 

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