Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Review: The Uglysuit - The Uglysuit (* * * *)

The Uglysuit are a young sextet of friends from Oklahoma City that are here to spread love, happiness and lots of harmony, vocal and otherwise. No, it's not the second coming of The Mamas and the Papas, it's just beautiful, melodic indie rock blown to epic proportions and served with a big slice of joy. The sounds is a little bit Band of Horses, a little bit Shins, and a little bit U2, all used to create a truly unique and refreshing sound.

When I first listened to "The Uglysuit," I didn't know how to take it. Nine tracks, 44 minutes, two instrumentals and two seven-plus minute songs. It's refreshing to hear a young band attempt (generally successfully) to throw album and song structures out the window, and after a few listens, I was able to make sense of what was happening. I'm glad I gave it the time, the result was well worth the effort.

The album seems to switch between "epic" and "intimate" mode freely, like "Happy Yellow Rainbow," which floats along with layers of piano and guitar before building to a frantic, frenetic, guitar and drum freak-out. The first single and most accessible song, "Chicago," is a lovely four minute indie-pop anthem that is sure to be a (relatively) huge hit, with a melodic chorus that might just get stuck in your head on repeat. The musicianship and production are of top quality; every space is filled, but the sound is never crowded or busy.

Although I appreciate the enjoy the album for its uniqueness, songs like "...And We Became Sunshine," and "Anthem of the Arctic Birds," (a song about penguins flying for the first time, set to a circus beat), come across as a bit "cute," which brings the album dangerously close to crossing the line from novel to silly. Lines like "all of us* are so beautiful, beautiful, how beautiful" don't help either. Far be it from me to rain on The Uglysuit's parade though, it sounds to me as if they mean everything they say, and sincerity goes a long way in my book.

Bottom Line: A debut that showcases The Uglysuit's fine musicianship and ability to create a truly unique album in form and style.

Favorite Tracks: Chicago, Everyone Now Has A Smile, Let It Be Known

*correction - "all of us are" apparently should be "all this art's"*


Anonymous said...

The line, "all of us are so beautiful, beautiful, how beautiful" is WAY wrong it is, "all this ART'S so beautiful, beautiful, how beautiful", Just correcting, because I know these guys wouldn't call themselves beautiful! Ha Ha.
And, cute and silly are good things to me, they make me smile. I've been listening to this album since I got it at the cd release in OKC, and it's f-ing great.

Me said...

Thanks for the correction. I'm sure they wouldn't refer to themselves as beautiful, but it's still kind of a funny line anyway.

I enjoy the lyrics sometimes more than others, but the music really is amazing.

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Great CD! Wonder if a sophomore effort from these beautiful guys is on the horizon. The i-Tunes music store has a bonus track called "The Way Of Swaying," a gorgeous piano-fueled gently-bouncy ballad that's as good as anything else on the album. Ion