2011 OU Records
It’s been 15 years.
15 years since Exit the Dragon, a CD that I admittedly didn’t truly appreciate until a couple of years later, and by then the band was already sadly imploding from myriad issues (not the least of which was drummer Blackie Onassis’ drug problems).
The songwriting core of Nash Kato and Eddie “King” Roeser somehow weathered the storm(s) and now here we are with a new Urge Overkill CD called Rock and Roll Submarine.
Maybe I just don’t get the title, but it just seems more than a tad lame to me. Oh well, I’ll gladly live with it ‘cos this is one mutha of a return for our favorite Abysmal band from Chicago. The glorious opening chords of leadoff track “Mason Dixon” are the perfect introduction, as the band sounds revitalized and gloriously stoked on this lonnnnnng awaited follow up.
Though the video for “Sister Havana” was probably their high point (other than their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon”), the corresponding album “Saturation” didn’t catapult them into the big league the way they and many others expected. One listen to the follow up album “Exit the Dragon” and it’s clear why. “…Dragon” was a more honest representation of who this band really is.
They’re equal parts rock, pop, alternative and garage, and “Saturation” just didn’t showcase their strengths overall. “Rock and Roll Submarine” is really the perfect disc to follow “Exit the Dragon,” no matter how long it has been. Eclectic in all the best ways, and garage enough to allow imperfections (like King Roeser’s fragile, sometimes slightly out of tune voice and some slightly off-tune harmonies) to shine proudly.
Really…Roeser and Nash Kato have two totally distinct voices and it’s with this album that I’ve grown to respect them as much as ANY other songwriting team out there. They have a style all their own, distinct and unique voices and they proudly pay homage to all their influences from rockers like “Mason Dixon” and the title track to cruisin’ guitar pop like the intelligent and infectious “Thought Balloon”
An album that reveals new hooks, harmonies and hidden treasures with almost every listen, “Rock and Roll Submarine” is a total triumph and a disc that effortlessly seduces repeated listens. There’s so much variety it’s almost amazing the disc sounds so cohesive. That’s what total commitment will do for ya:)
And damn if “Touch to a Cut” isn’t the closest we’ll probably EVER come to hearing a new Sisters of Mercy song. And I mean that with a ton of respect.
Rating: 5 out of 5