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The Ugly Kings – ‘Strange, Strange Times’

Napalm Records
Queens of the Stone Age, Rival Sons, Danzig, Jack White
Release Date
August 13, 2021
Napalm Records
Alternative Rock

Melbourne’s Power-Blues quartet The Ugly Kings return with a darkly toned and themed second (or third)* album; and it’s really something. Frontman Russell Clark sets the pointer in the sand for their sound, the bastard grandchild of Jim Morrison and Josh Homme, his rich and entertaining baritone oozes late night desert skies and effortless cool. Christos on guitars, Nicolas on bass, and Joel on drums must all drive V8 soft-tops in the outback at night too. I would kill to be this cool.

Not that there was anything wrong with the bands earlier release(s)*; there is a sense of completeness about “Strange, Strange Times” that elevates it, and it should certainly have a broader appeal – I’m most definitely thinking of the US market as a for instance. “Lawman” has the feel of a Nick Cave/Jack White Murder-Ballad; and album closer “Another Fucking Day” is pretty much a slacker anthem. “The Devil Comes with a Smile” possibly epitomises their flair for mixing and melding disparate elements of Rock, Blues, Punk, and Metal with a slightly jarring and mesmerising effect.

*The Bands first release “Of Sins” was a mini-album self-released with just 70 copies on blue vinyl. If you know someone with a copy, buy it off them before the new album goes deservedly huge.

In summary, this is a powerful breath of fresh air; a straight-up slab of Heavy Blues and Rock that isn’t shy about using styles and influences as it pleases, yet it keeps the songs over style at all times.

highly recommended alt rock

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