Urge Overkill

Exit the Dragon

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Sonically falling somewhere between Supersonic Storybook and Stull, Exit the Dragon is a dark, lean album, the flipside of Saturation's glossy celebration of '70s rock & roll excess, and easily Urge Overkill's most haunting collection of songs. It kicks off with "Jaywalking," a terse, powerful rocker lamenting "all the evil in this world," which sets the album's tone. Exit the Dragon is dominated by Eddie "King" Roeser, with Nash Kato on only six of the 14 songs. As usual, Roeser's songs are more claustrophobic than Kato's, particularly the clenched riffs of "The Break," and the slow crawl of "Tin Foil." Although Kato contributes the flat-out rocker "Need Some Air," many of his songs are nearly as dark as Roeser's, whether it's the acoustic "View of the Rain" (previously released as "Take a Walk" on the No Alternative compilation), the skipping pop of "Somebody Else's Body," the power pop of "Monopoly," or the soaring closer "Digital Black Epilogue," a duet with an uncredited female soul singer. But the heart of the record is Blackie Onassis' "The Mistake," an eerie tale of a drug overdose which helps Exit the Dragon take the form of a loose concept album about a rock & roll band beset by troubles on the road. While the subject is ripe for parody, Urge Overkill performs Exit the Dragon without much irony at all. Instead of being a fatal misstep, this choice proves that Urge is a tight, powerful rock & roll band blessed with first-rate songwriters, capable of more emotions than many listeners might have expected.

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