Urge Overkill

Sister Havana

Song Review by

Urge Overkill spent much of their career veering between a smart-assed parody of '70s hard rock and a loving tribute to the same, but "Sister Havana," from their 1993 major-label debut, Saturation, was one of the rare moments where both sides of their personality came together with the perfection of yin and yang. "Sister Havana"'s lyrics relate a typically improbable tale of the band's adventures with a beautiful woman in Cuba (where they spied her making out with Fidel Castro, no less), but Nash Kato sings them with enough mock sincerity that it almost passes for the real thing on the verses, and once he hits the chorus (which is dumb, but dumb in a truly inspired way), he's transformed himself into the rock belter he's always wanted to be. Elsewhere, guitarist Eddie "King" Rouser is in rare form, laying down superb leads and chunky rhythm parts, and producers the Butcher Brothers give the track the thick and glossy analog varnish this band always needed. Sadly, much of Saturation wasn't up to the standards of the leadoff track, and Urge Overkill's next album, Exit the Dragon, would bring the group to a disastrous halt, but thanks to "Sister Havana," for three minutes and 49 seconds the most glamorous band in indie rock finally sounded like the rock stars they always wanted to be (and if the song's initially strong airplay hadn't petered out, it might have made them stars, which would have made Exit the Dragon even more problematic).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Saturation 1993 DGC / Geffen 3:53
Triple J Hottest 100 1994
Various Artists
Unstoppable 90's: Alternative 1999
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 3:35
Indie Anthems, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Radio Waves of the '90s: Alternative Rock Hits 2002
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 3:50
No Image 2004 EMusic Live
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