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Ugly - "Ugly" (CD)

Ugly - "Ugly" CD cover image

"Ugly" track listing:

1. 24 Hours (3:37)
2. Pusher (3:36)
3. Friday Night (In The City) (3:14)
4. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll (5:01)
5. Son (5:52)
6. Social Keeper (3:55)
7. Driving Me Under (3:32)
8. Idea (4:12)
9. Washed Out (3:56)
10. The Cats Ass (3:19)
11. Everything (4:31)
12. The Train (5:21)

Reviewed by on March 9, 2009

"Fans of Saliva and Buckcherry will probably also like Ugly, but personally I think the best description of their sound is Poison with a different, deeper voiced vocalist."

Ugly may not be a very endearing name for a band or an album, but for the gritty rock act, it’s an apt description. Though their music may be old school, these guys are far from the pretty boy glam fashioned stars of the 1980’s. They look and sound like their favorite hangouts are pool halls and tattoo parlors, and it’s no great surprise that they hail from Detroit, the original blue collar city.

To put it plainly, Ugly’s music is simple. The lyrics are less than meaty, with lots of "oohs" and "woo hoo hoos," and the songs are working man inspired. From "Friday Night (In The City)," which serves as a testament to the shift worker who dreams of Friday nights tossing back a bottle with his buddies, to "Son," which is a father’s apology to his kid for all the mistakes he’s made, Ugly’s music is real, even if the majority of the tunes are about partying.

Their style is a mix of old school glam and current day southern rock. Fans of Saliva and Buckcherry will probably also like Ugly, but personally I think the best description of their sound is Poison with a different, deeper voiced vocalist. Like the hair metal favorites, Ugly’s music is light on depth, and they share the same tendency to end their songs on a long, drawn out shredding guitar solo. The drumming is also reminiscent of Poison’s Rikki Rockett at times, most noticeably in "Pusher," where the drums are hollow and repetitive. Fortunately though, hard rock music doesn’t usually require a lot of flair from its drummers.

The guitars throughout the album are excellent for fans of showy shreds and bluesy wails, which can be found on "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll" and "Social Keeper," which has a little heavier sound, reminiscent of Motley Crue’s "Dr. Feelgood" era.

Despite its clueless male lyrics and 1970’s Pink Floyd’s "Mother" inspired ringing pay phone in the background, "Everything" is probably the best track. It is a hopefully tongue in cheek commentary on relationships, where the vocalist sings into the unanswered line, "It’s always my fault, just like everything." While it’s probably a good thing the wife/girlfriend doesn’t pick up the line, this song is a good choice for classic rock fans.

The low spots in the album come in "Washed Out," with its Beatles feel of distorted lead vocals and backup "la las," and on the final track, "The Train," where the sounds of railroad spikes being hammered verge on crossing the line into cheese.

Still, the album is easy to listen to overall, and makes you want to get off your duff and go have a few beers with your friends. Though it’s really middle of the road mediocre as far as composition and performance, "Ugly" is a feel good album for the stereotypical thirty-something working class of America.

Highs: Bluesy and glam-fashioned guitars are something classic rock fans will appreciate.

Lows: Backup "oohs" and "woo hoos" verge on ridiculous at times; drums are a little too simple.

Bottom line: It’s not bad for a debut, and it might garner some interest with fans of classic rock and glam.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)