Ugly Kid Joe do everything and do it well on fifth album Rad Wings Of Destiny

Are Ugly Kid Joe metallers, hard rockers, country balladeers or a covers band, or all of the above?

Ugly Kid Joe: Rad Wings Of Destiny cover art
(Image: © Metalville)

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Will the real Ugly Kid Joe please stand up? It’s a question that’s been asked ever since the California brat pack formed in 1989. Are they metallers (note the puntastic Judas Priest album title), hard rockers, country balladeers or a covers band? 

Answer: all of the above. And the frustrating thing is, everything they do, they do exceedingly well. This, Ugly Kid Joe’s first full-length since 2015, and only their fifth overall, rocks up a treat on That Ain’t Livin’ and Dead Friends Play: AC/DC to the core and friskier than any recent output from Angus’s mob. 

Not Like The Other is top-notch bovver-rock, while Kill The Pain exudes Bon Jovi-esque pomp. For the country stuff, check out mournful ballad Everything’s Changing and the meditative Long Road. 

Then there’s a suitably sleazy cover of The Kinks’ Lola and, mixing things up further, the sparse, shuddering funk of Up In The City. A call to Confused.com may well be in order.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.