I think that after this record's hot opening track, "Freight Train," and anyone would want to hang around to hear more. Sad and Tragic Demise..., along with being one of the most cumbersome titles in rock history, is a winning mixture of funky backbeats, jazz dissonance, and twisting and turning rock & roll. Baiza spends more time than usual singing on this record, and that's not always a good thing -- his vocal range is limited as is his expressiveness -- but his quirky, understated guitar playing shows the influences of Blood Ulmer, Sonny Sharrock and James Brown's great guitarist Jimmy Nolen and is what makes up for his enthusiastic, but limited singing. Tracks like "Tight Heat," "Uh Huh," and "Small World" are little gems that bob and weave around grooves so tight you couldn't pry them apart with a crowbar. While this record may disappoint those hoping for more spacious, flexible, expansive "jams," for those who like the splank sound of a thumb popping a bass string, or the crisp bang of a snare drum, UCO delivers the goods, and then some.
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AllMusic Review by John Dougan