Off the back of witnessing the triumphant return of Ugly Kid Joe early this year at The Camden Underworld and Download Festival, I finally got my mitts on their self released EP. Six brand new tracks to look forward to in the form of 'Stairway To Hell'.
Ugly Kid Joe haven't released anything since 'Motel California' in 1996, which was an album that was received with a lacklustre reception and as a result saw poor record sales. So the first thing I can say, as a UKJ fan that was hugely unimpressed with 'Motel California', this EP kicks away bad memories of that disaster. But before you get excited, it doesn't follow up on 'American's Least Wanted' or 'Menace To Sobriety' either.
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It's taken me a while to write this review as it's taken me a long time to actually like it! The first time I heard it I thought it was OK, but on each listen it really has grown on me and as I listen to it right now, I can honestly say that it feels like a good start to a band that haven't worked together for a LONG time.
The second track on the EP sounds just like the UKJ that got me hooked in the first place and definitely takes a lot from one of their best tracks 'Neighbor', and 'Devil's Paradise' also has their signature sound but with the added annoyance that you've heard this song before. And then it clicked, it's a hell of a lot like Aerosmith's 'Nobody's Fault'.
And that's about it for Ugly Kid Joe that we remember from back in the 90s. The rest of the tracks on the EP have lost their angst and the grungy sound replaced for a much clearer sonic experience with Whitfield Crane's vocals a lot cleaner. And to be honest, as much as I loved the original Ugly Kid Joe material, I have to remember I was twenty, and as I've just listened to 'America's Least Wanted' those tracks from my formative year don't quite resonate as well two decades on.
In reality Ugly Kid Joe have grown up, but don't tell Whit that. There's no finger up to society on this release, but there is solid music from talented musicians. Don't expect to be wowed, but do enjoy.