Review by Alaina Henderson
So, it’s been 17 years since we’ve heard from Ugly Kid Joe and along they come with their new release Stairway to Hell to rock us once more. First impressions? It seems like they’ve never been away. Just as they always have, they are bringing the spirit of rock and roll to the forefront. On first listen, you will be transported back to those glorious, grungy teen years when shutting yourself in your room and cranking up the stereo was as rebellious as it got. Opening track ‘ Devil’s Paradise’ kicks off with a screeching riff that gets the blood pumping. Combined with Whitfield Crane’s recognisable vocal, it’s exciting stuff. It continues in this vein with a no holds barred nod to the sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll days of (quite) old.
‘Love Ain’t True’ seems to be an anti-love song for the grunge of heart. In somewhat of a different vein than the rest of the album and not necessarily something they would have come up with back in the day, but mixing it up hasn’t done any harm. Keeping it soft, then comes ‘Would You Like To Be There’, again not completely expected with its light-hearted strumming and melodic vocal, but then switching firmly back into the ‘so what, yeah whatever’ attitude, ‘Another Beer’ is twisted with bitterness, with a distinct country twang. This is a stand out track and a highlight of the album. Plus, it can’t go without mentioning that ‘Cats In The Cradle’ makes a guest appearance, and why not? This just adds to the enjoyment of listening, reminiscing and of course, comparing.
Not every band can live up to their biggest hit time after time, but these guys do a great job. This release is a joy to listen to now, as was the older material then. Even if you’re now listening on your iPod, in the car or at work and not hidden away in an angst filled bedroom, it will still fill your heart with that rebellious spirit and the need to just rock out.
8 out of 10
- Devil’s Paradise
- You Make Me Sick
- No One Survives
- I’m Alright
- Love Ain’t True
- Another Beer
- Cat’s In The Cradle (acoustic version)
- Would You Like To Be There (acoustic version)
- No One Survives (acoustic version)