REVIEW: Urge Overkill “Oui”


Urge Overkill – Oui

With their first new LP in over a decade, this double-singer-songwriter team of Nash Kato & King Roeser still possesses the necessary edgy pop luster that exudes energy & heavy machinery.

Opening with a cover of George Michael’s “Freedom,” the duo reconstructs a distinguished mainstream sensibility. The tune is catchy & in their hands even more laden with layers of pounding drums & fluid guitars. The vocals are bracing & supported by the necessary condiments of building a perfect burger.


With a dosage of funk “A Necessary Evil,” is a shift away from “Freedom,” & punctuates differently without losing any of the imaginative grooves. 12-new slices of spicy riffs, hooks & swagger fill this package. The band name may suggest a more heavy repertoire, but they have elevated their showcase with melody & lots of expectation.


Their music is framed in generous amounts of head-shaking beats as the music swells like a balloon being blown up. Oui (Drops Feb 11–Omnivore) was produced with good production value by the duo.

“How Sweet the Light,” even has a melody & performance akin to The Who just shy of being bombastic. It’s not bombastic at all — because this team knows their stuff & weighs it before wrapping it.

Originating in Chicago in 1986 Urge Overkill went through some stylistic changes in their development. But always added the necessary ingredients to remain clever & creative with their brand. While they’re not innovators with their music there is evidence of keeping distance between other artists & bands in presentation. There are blends, variants & lots of traction to each creation. At times, UO can be reminiscent of the clinging rawness of a garage band (“Snow”). But many times, they provide a charge that gets their engines to hum.

“A Prisoner’s Dilemma,” chugs along in a much closer Americana-roots tradition & then a warm sax drifts briefly in to add color. What is appealing is the slight sleigh-bell ting that’s ingenuity. It isn’t anything difficult, or even necessary but you’ll notice it & that’s the trick. “Forgiven,” continues in a rockier rootsy manner. Vocals are grungy like John Mellencamp, & Frank Tovey meet Russ Tolman (“Marla Jane”). Convincing.

Urge Overkill

“Totem Pole,” has excellent vocals – far closer to a rootsy warm bonfire with sparks late at night under a sky full of stars. The band has not lost any of its magical touches.

“Litany,” is lyrically fine & literate. Good storytelling. The drums on this cut & 4 others were excellently played by Brian “BQ” Quast. Tight, deep penetrating thuds. Perfection. The last time I heard drums this enticing was on Steve Earle’s “Waiting On You,” & Jennifer Warnes’ cover of The Waterboys’ “The Whole of the Moon.”

A satisfying 41 minutes. Oh yeah.

Color photo by Jerod Herzog. The CD is available @

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