Review Summary: Typical 90's heavy rock done better, and more fun than the norm.
Ah… Ugly Kid Joe (a satire of Pretty Boy Floyd). Everyone who grew up in the 90’s should have heard their smash single Everything About You
. It’s a timeless ode about hating your significant other. UKJ was the band that could have been. Their debut album (this) was so successful and well-received upon its release, they were destined for stardom. They even got a spot on Ozzy’s ’92 tour. Everything was look good for UKJ, until lead singer Whitfield Crane fractured his right ankle in Corpus Christi, TX playing a club show. Crane became less mobile on stage, which led to increasingly worse show reception. This led to decreasing sales and popularity, until 1997 when the band split up for personal reasons.
With the obligatory ‘introduction-to-the-band’ opening done, let’s dive right into the album. Opener Neighbor
provides us with a great crunchy lead that all the little headbangers could easily get into. Imagine a poppier Black Sabbath guitar section, and you have a good idea what you have in store. Don’t be turned off by that fact however, as the guitars are actually performed very well. The best example being in Goddamn Devil
with a dark, plodding guitar lick that creeps its way through the verses in which Crane sings about how awesome it would be to be the devil. More 90’s hard-rock crunch greet us throughout the chorus, until a flashy solo complete with squeals and pinch harmonics to make it as flashy as possible. It’s definitely no Van Halen, but it’s better than most bands I’ve heard are capable of pulling off.
Drums and bass are rather played down throughout America’s Least Wanted
. Drummer Mark Davis can sure keep rhythm, but doesn’t really do anything except be the bare backbone of each song, throwing in a mediocre fill every once in a while. The bass is (say it with me) pretty much non-existent, so I’ll just skip it. Crane’s vocals are a definite highlight as it’s obvious how much fun he is having. The bridge sections of Panhandlin’ Prince
and Everything About You
display this aspect perfectly. Imagine a more pussy version of James Hetfield, and you get a rough of idea of Crane.
Song topics range from wondering why someone is So Damn Cool
to being a psychotic killer loose in Disneyland (Madman
) to their well-known cover of Harry Chapin’s Cats In The Cradle
. It’s definitely worth checking out and proves that not all cover songs are bad. The production is great, everything sounds crisp, and it all flows smoothly. While the bass is never heard, everything else is done very well. All in all, if you’re looking for a fun heavy rock album to reminisce to the ‘90’s about and are tired of Nirvana, give this a shot. If not, at least listen to Everything About You
seeing as it is possibly one of the most fun songs ever recorded.