When Ugly Kid Joe announces a new record, there is a certain anticipation, accompanied by a certain skepticism about what we can expect. These mixed feelings also came up when ‘Rad Wings of Destiny’ fluttered into the house.
The quintet got off to a flying start with ‘America’s Least Wanted’. That was in 1992 and also the successor ‘Menace to Sobriety’ was quite successful. After the band disbanded towards the end of the 90s, it was a bit of a surprise that Klaus Eichstedt brought Ugly Kid Joe back to life about a decade ago. When frontman Whitfield Crane joined the band in 2011, the idea of a new album was not all that far away. This release was in 2015 under the name ‘Uglier Than They Used to Be’ and seven years later it is the mentioned ‘Rad Wings of Destiny’, which should create a buzz again.
Well, the five Americans will not be able to connect to the early successes, which was probably not the intention. Fun is in the foreground and this becomes especially apparent during the first 4-5 songs.
The five musicians couldn’t have chosen a better start than the hard rocking opener ‘That Ain’t Livin”’. Powerful and with a lot of energy, the song finds its way into the minds of the listeners and awakens the thought of a great album. ‘Not Like the Other’ solidifies this impression. In addition, it quickly becomes evident that no song is like the other. While it was the cracking AC/DC-ish opener that put you in ecstasy, ‘Not Like the Other’ is a more classic rock-influenced smasher that suits the band well.
A band that had a big hit with ‘Cats in the Cradle’ must of course have a ballad on their current album. ‘Everything’s Changing’ is the title of this smooth and very melancholic song. The band set a good counterpoint to the first two blasts and also ‘Kill the Pain’ lingers in rather calmer realms before the rock volcano breaks out in the chorus.
After Ugly Kid Joe has with ‘Lola ‘ a successful cover version of The Kinks classic to offer, the second half of ‘Rad Wings of Destiny’ unfortunately falls off a bit. You get the impression that the band was trying to find material to fill up a longplayer. After the country-inspired chord song ‘Drinkin’ and Drivin”’ Ugly Kid Jou fortunately return to their rock roots and deliver with ‘Failure’ a nice song.
In a way ‘Rad Wings of Destiny’ stands for everything the band is about. Like on most of the previous albums, the guys have really good songs in their bag, but also moments where things become a bit shaky. In addition, the guys always have great fun in what they are doing, which is good for both the band and the music. Ugly Kid Joe, that means enjoying to play music and the impulse to never really grow up. Actually quite a good approach.
- That Ain’t Livin‘
- Not Like The Other
- Everything’s Changing
- Kill The Pain
- Dead Friends Play
- Up in the City
- Drinkin’ And Drivin’
- Long Road
Genre: Hard Rock
Release Date EU: October 21st, 2022
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