(7/10) There is no doubt that the most successful times of Ugly Kid Joe are over. But that doesn't mean that the guys from California don't rock anymore. Actually it's fun to have them back - a bit older but still with the right attitude. It almost feels like the break having been an energizer for the five-piece.
After the comeback release "Welcome to hell" in 2013 Whitfield Crane and band mates are back with a new album called "Uglier than they used to be" - a title that shows that the guys didn't loose their sense of humor.
The start into the longplayer, "Hell ain't hard to find", is a relaxed rocker. It's kept in mid-pace and shows that the guys still sticks to their roots. It's a typical Ugly Kid Joe song - not more, but also not less.
The opener comes already with a certain grunge vibe that continous through the first four songs; something that feels new.
Things change in the second half. Hard riff rockers are on the B-side as well as a ballad called "Under the bottom". The last mentioned one is a good song but I prefer the acoustic groover "Mirror the man".
The definite highlight on the album is the Motörhead cover "Ace of spades". This version blows you away. Close to the original Motörhead version, the tune is a killer, since Ugly Kid Joe manages to get the same energy into their version than Lemmy and friends on the classic rock milestone album.
In the end each of the songs is reflecting cool hardrock as we know it from the band.
Ugly Kid Joe got mature but not old or old-fashioned. The new studio release shows the strength of the five-piece that still knows how to rock. And like said in the beginning: they might not have the same success as in the early days, but they still rock.
- Hell ain't hard to find
- Let the record play
- Bad seed
- Mirror the man
- She's already gone
- Nothing ever changes
- My old man
- Under the bottom
- Ace of spades
Release date EU: September 18th, 2015