Review Summary: Ugly Kid Joe attempts to return to their beginnings with another extended play. Sadly it is more like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, only to be shot in the head with a magnum.
Allow me to take you on a trip back in time. The year was 1991 and I was all of 13 years old. My snotty little teenaged self loved nothing more than metal, BMX bikes and playing guitar. Listening to the radio with a few friends on night the first melodious strains of ‘Everything About You’ started playing and I was hooked even before the song was finished. I remember begging my sister to take me to the mall the following day so that I could buy the album. Sadly there was no album to be purchased; the E.P. from UKG was only available on CD! The only problem was that I didn’t own a CD player, yet so enamored was I of the song I purchased it anyways. To this day that E.P. has been a personal favorite and one that I still spin at least once a month. I didn’t really take too strongly to any other releases by the band (excepting the single Neighbor, which would have fit well on their debut E.P.) and didn’t really keep tabs on the band from there.
Let us journey back to the present. I get a text message from a good friend stating that UKG is back, with most of the original lineup from their debut and have released a new E.P! What is this, could lightning really strike twice? Would this be another five or six songs on par with their original outing? Sadly the answer to that is no. Whitfield Crane and crew are back in 2012 with a rather subpar release that if anything recaptures the bands failures of the late 90’s and early 2000’s with more honesty than this reviewer ever could.
Returning for this “reunion” of sorts is founding member and guitarist Klaus Eichstadt, guitarist Dave Fortman (joined the band for their debut CD), Cordell Crockett on bass and Godsmack alum Shannon Larkin on drums. Everything about the E.P. reeks of the band trying to recapture former glory. From the word play on the name to the artwork (which is a not-so subtle homage to Ugly As They Wanna Be) all hopes are there that the music and songwriting will be of the same caliber. This of course, is where things fall flat. Whitfield Crane in 1991 had this snotty rock tone to his voice which suited the bands style quite well. On this release he is sounding old and tired and not like his former self at all. Beyond the vocals the music and songwriting would be easily classified as proficient but poorly done. Yes, Shannon Larkin is a decent drummer, and Klaus is a rather talented guitarist, yet they are absolutely lost in poor song writing. The song ‘Love Ain’t True!’ is an excellent example here. Featuring members from Fishbone (what the hell is it 1997 again?) the song’s production and first 10 seconds are great! Until suddenly the vocals spring in with “You know I think that you’re a bitch”. Blasted our by a snotty, drunken twenty-something year old, this may have worked. In this case it just sounds sad and makes me want to push the forward button on my mp3 player.
The closer, Another Beer is a country song. Yes, that was supposed to be an insult. I can understand a band wanting to use musical influence in their songwriting, but really not what I was expecting. In the end, I was left with a bitter taste for the past in my mouth and regret that I had hyped myself at all to enjoy this release. This is not one that I will be looking back upon fondly in 20 years.