During the dark days of grunge, Chicago’s Urge Overkill acted as a beacon for those who liked their rock stars to glow in the dark, their sartorial swagger matched on 1993’s Saturation by retro-riffage every bit as dazzlingly as their matching UO medallions.
Having split up acrimoniously in the wake of 1995’s Exit The Dragon, their long overdue return, sadly minus drummer Blackie Onassis, finds them, ironically, in grungier waters, the keening vocals and intertwining guitars of Eddie King Roeser and Nash Kato combining to spine-tingling effect on Effigy and Mason/Dixon.
If their melodic gifts remain intact, Rock & Roll Submarine also comes with a warped aspect you’d expect from a band whose creative instincts have been submerged for fifteen years. Quiet Person is a decidedly un-Urge like display of humility, while The Valiant finds an unrepentant Kato groaning ‘It always pays to be valiant’, triumphant like a crazed U-boat captain on one final, doomed mission.
Fans, however, will just be ecstatic they’re finally back on the radar.