The Nation of Ulysses
Plays Pretty for Baby


4.0
excellent

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
August 16th, 2007 | 38 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: These guys looked damn good for a dirty punk band.

The Nation of Ulysses should probably be remembered a little bit more. Sure, Fugazi came out at the same time and was arguably a more digestible version, but there was something about Nation of Ulysses that really caught my eye when my dad introduced me to them when he first learned I had an infatuation with Fugazi back in the day. Maybe it was because they wore nice suits and added in weird Jazz jams in the middle of their post-hardcore noise explosions. Maybe it was because my copy of “13-Pint Program to Destroy America” had pretty much the most bitchin liner notes a 14 year old could ever hope for. Or maybe it was just because these guys knew how to rebel, man.

What does a band with an activist agenda and a penchant for contrived songwriting do on a record? Pretty much what you’d expect- “Plays Pretty for Baby” is filled with a bunch of punk songs aimed at taking down the man. Want to know their *** straight up?

“I'm not talking about a Beatle's song,
written 100 years before I was born.
100 flowers bloom, 100 schools of thought contend,
c'mon baby, let's hang around,
they're talking about the round and round,
but who's got the real anti-parent culture sound?”

Obviously, the Nation of Ulysses.

They never had any pretensions abut being some “different” band, they were pretty much just a really good D.C band that followed in the mold of Embrace or Rites of Spring (aka they sounded a LOT like Fugazi). They even pretty much say so on “Last Train to Cool.” What made them so great was they were really playing with passion; they really believed all that crap they were spouting for better or worse. There are moments of pure emotional adrenaline like in “The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken” which any angsty underOATH fan could enjoy, and then immediately afterwards a spoken word where the ever pretentious Ian Svenonious chides the crowd in classic Ian MacKaye fashion.

Pretty much if you like D.C. hardcore from the 90’s…well you’ll probably already own this. Its certainly an essential album in the “post-hardcore” world, although classifying this is almost just stupid and against the point. It’s a punk album full of aggression against those that oppress the youth, the perfect teen angst album for those who like to dress snazzy. When you hear the haunting wails on “N.o.u.s.p.t.d.a.” you’ll wonder why you cant be back in the early 90’s being one of the “cool” kids rebelling against the white man with The Nation of Ulysses.

Plus there’s trumpet. Soooooooo experimental people.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Happymeal (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
pixiesfanyo
August 16th 2007


1223 Comments


I don't think they really sound like Fugazi that much.

Love these guys though.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is like 1 of three good bands I have liked for more than two years so please be nice no negz plz

edit: They always sounded like Fugazi + Antioch Arrow to me.This Message Edited On 08.16.07

Zebra
Moderator
August 16th 2007


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fantastic. Most punk albums get tiring towards the end but Nation of Ulysses keep my attention all the way through.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this is the 1st time we've ever both liked an album Zebra. Btw.

pixiesfanyo
August 16th 2007


1223 Comments


In the fictional works of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Children of Ilúvatar are Elves and Men who were created by Ilúvatar, the supreme God in Tolkien's legendarium.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mhm I'm a giant dork and?

Abaddon2005
August 16th 2007


684 Comments


Ian Svenonius is pretty funny in Soft Focus but I don't care for this cd at all.

pixiesfanyo
August 16th 2007


1223 Comments


How can you not care for it?

It rules so hard.

Aficionado
August 16th 2007


1027 Comments


Love this cd and band. But I like 13 point program better, maybe because I have a bias towards simple yet effective basslines.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 17th 2007


2125 Comments


Awesome album. I still remember when Happymeal introduced me back in the day. Good times.

StrizzMatik
August 17th 2007


3229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album and band rules all. It's pretty safe to say Refused ripped this band off quite a bit.

Happymeal
August 17th 2007


330 Comments


I guess my 2 years of whoring them paid off?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't even know your review existed thats why I wrote this =/.

londoncalling457
August 19th 2007


2615 Comments


I checked everywhere for this, but all I can find is "13 Point Diagram..". Any suggestions?

Neoteric
March 10th 2008


3243 Comments


the internet.

HighandDriving
March 10th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If he still hasn't gotten a hold of it after 7 months I think it's save to say even the internet won't help him.

FourthReich
April 19th 2013


18140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in short, this is underrated.

FourthReich
July 20th 2013


18140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed fourth

DrHouseSchuldiner
August 16th 2013


5643 Comments


rules

Mendross
August 29th 2013


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

absolutely



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