Though Urge Overkill’s Saturation was one of the great major-label debuts of the ’90s, just as much ink was spilled on the group’s rock and roll lifestyle, matching velour jackets, and cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon.”
With Oui, Nash Kato and King Roeser – UO’s co-frontmen and sole constants since 1986 – issue their first album since 2012. It’s a guitars-to-the-front collection that effortlessly incorporates the arena-rock swagger, alt-rock sensibilities, and power-pop hooks that briefly sent Urge Overkill to the “big leagues” three decades ago.
Kato/Roeser offer an “Urge-ified” take on George Michael’s “Freedom” as the first single. While it’s transformative in its interpretation, the 11 originals that follow are gems in the classic Urge style. “Follow My Shadow” is a standout that hangs with anything on Saturation, while tracks like “A Necessary Evil” explore all corners of Kato and Roeser’s pedalboards. “Forgiven,” meanwhile, melds Angus-like riffage and Gibbons-esque boogie, while “Won’t Let Go” and “Litany” unironically deploy metallic chug and crunch to different ends. There’s even a jangly garage rocker, “How Sweet The Light.”
Oui is a slab of classic Urge that finds Kato’s Ibanez Iceman and Roeser’s Gibson SG once again being put to good use.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.