Not Enough Stereo

The Urge - Too Much Stereo
(Immortal Records)
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 20, 2000

By Tony Bonyata

Fitting into the mold that bands like Barenaked Ladies, Blink 182 and Everclear cast, St. Louis sextet The Urge have released their third album entitled Too Much Stereo, which blends snappy, high energy songs with pop melodies and ska rhythms.
But the problem with not only The Urge's music but this whole genre of born-again, reggae-light-meets-rock is that despite its happy, upbeat facade it's really empty and forgettable - missing the point that original ska-rockers like The Specials and Madness had conveyed in their music.
The Urge - Too Much StereoThe album opens with vocalist Steve Ewing blurting out, "The world is shifting, let me out," in Jamaican-jerk fashion on "What Is This," before shifting into the title track, which comes off like The Offspring on a Peter Tosh diet.
Although they strap on ska horns and rhythms on numbers like "I Go Home" and"Welcome To Gunville" it sounds more like The Urge use this Jamaican-born music as a gimmick to put a little more meat on their meager pop bones.
When they're not dishing out second-rate ska-rock, they deliver throwaway ditties ("Living On The Surface"), old-hat pop ("Liar Liar") and pseudo-hard rock riffs ("Push On Like Flintstone" and "Say A Prayer").
The music does work at times, however, as on the power pop driven by a morse code guitar-line on "Four Letters and Two Words," and the most believable ska-influenced number on this collection, "Warning Warning," but, unfortunately, it doesn't last near long enough to justify an entire album.
Maybe Not Enough Stereo would have made a more apt title.

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