Review Revue: Urge Overkill – Supersonic Storybook

One of the many fine rock bands to be brought from the Chicago scene into the national consciousness in the late 80s and early 90s by the stalwart indie Touch and Go Records, Urge Overkill were perhaps a bit more straightforward and accessible than some of their labelmates and contemporaries, such as The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and the Butthole Surfers. Which is not to say they were exactly straight-ahead by any means — they certainly had their share of the weirdness and angularity that seemed to be in the Chicago water in those days, and Steve Albini’s stark production techniques appear to have rubbed off on them when they went on to produce this, their last record for Touch & Go.

Sadly for Urge Overkill, their commercial appeal wasn’t quite strong enough to sustain their major label efforts and, like so many bands in this era, they seem to have imploded fairly quickly after leaving their indie roots, releasing a couple of albums on Geffen and then disappearing into the alternative rock ether. Word has it, though, that the band is back together in some form and working on a new album, so it seems we haven’t heard the last from them. (“New site imminent!” is hopeful; “Upcoming Shows: March 5, 2010,” maybe a bit less so.) Let’s hope the new one — whenever it appears — gets the KEXP heads as excited as this one did.

“1-1 Rocz!”

“KCMU welcomes Friday, May 31st (1991) to Offramp.”

“How ’bout H? ‘Emmaline‘ is a cover of Hot Chocolate’s ‘Emma.’ God they’re awesome.”

“Rox. Bionic Rev. sends me…”

“I like ‘Bionic Revolution’ quite a bit — good groove.”

“Yeah! It cooks!”

“‘The Candidate’ is hot, also.”

“Kinda groovy!”

Swingin’ back cover drawn by Dan Clowes who also did a cover for Thee Headcoats and the Ranch Hands.”

“I enjoyed this, too Sounds very 70s FM radio hard rock, but w/a sense of humor. Not great, but definitely the best thing I’ve heard from these Chi-town fashion mavens.”

“For chrissakes, isn’t this the Redd Kross rec you guys have always wanted?

“No! that was called Neurotica.”

“This is by far the best UO rec to date.”

“1-2 shreds!”

“2-1 is cool!”

“Pretty damn good record. Don’t know why it sat in the bin so long. It sounds like they look, although the loungey purple tuxes kind of complicate that assessment. TRIVIA TIDBIT: Did you know?? Urge Overkill takes its name from a Parliament song!”

“No I didn’t! Which one? Which one?” [Apparently, it’s “Funkentelechy.” Thank you, Internet!]

“This rocks heavily in some places. 2.1 is my fav. It’s grunge-rock-funk, something old made new. Artist of back cover has some work at COCA (puts out Eightball).”

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One Comment

  1. Dig Me Out Podcast
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Check out a podcast review of Urge Overkill’s ‘The Supersonic Storybook’ on Dig Me Out at digmeoutpodcast. com, a weekly podcast dedicated to reviewing lost and forgotten rock of the ’90s.

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