Time and its passage mean nothing to Urge Overkill. And their long-overdue sixth album Oui is all the proof you need.
By the calendar, it’s their first release in a decade, and only the second album in 25 years from Chicago singer-guitarists Nash Kate and Eddie “King” Roeser. The last, you may (or may not) recall, was their surprisingly solid 2011 comeback outing Rock & Roll Submarine. Well, here’s some good news: Oui sounds every bit as satisfying as its predecessor. As it should: These tracks were recorded at the same sessions. Yep, that’s right: All these tunes are more than a decade old. But who cares? They’re still keepers — from the brilliant cover of Wham!’s Freedom that opens the album (nobody, but nobody does covers better than Urge) to the consistently strong lineup of slinky, freewheeling indie-rock and chugging, propulsive post-punk that defines the set. In fact, song for song and pound for pound, this album is actually more coherent and impressive than Submarine. Primarly because songs like A Necessary Evil, Follow My Shadow, Forgiven and Won’t Let Go don’t sound 10 years old — they sound 30 years old, taking you right back to the swaggering glory days of their bulletproof breakthrough classic Saturation. As long as Nash and King can pull aces like these out of their sleeves, I don’t give a damn how long they’ve been holding them. As the old saying goes, time is on their side. Yes it is. (For more from Nash and King, watch my video interview with the dynamic duo HERE).
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When the world was asked if it was time for new music from Urge Overkill, it responded with one word — Oui.
Oui is the new release from Nash Kato and King Roeser — their first in over a decade. It’s full of their signature mix of rock, hooks, and fancy bling, which is exactly what a post-pandemic planet has needed for far too long.
Urge Overkill is comprised of two unique voices. A double singer-songwriter attack. Roeser and Kato, two Minnesota native sons, met at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Pulling their name from Parliament’s track Funkentelechy, Urge Overkill were born in 1984, releasing their debut EP Strange I… on fellow Northwestern student Steve Albini’s Ruthless Records (with Albini in the production chair, as well).
Touch And Go Records founder Cory Rusk championed the band as well, and Jesus Urge Superstar appeared on that classic Chicago label, once again helmed by Albini (while the band was housed in his basement.) Next came 1990’s Americruiser, this time produced by Butch Vig, featuring a sound and style that influenced fellow bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, who would consequently use Vig on albums like Siamese Dream and Nevermind.
1991’s The Supersonic Storybook (named by Material Issue’s Jim Ellison) brought Albini back to the production role, and they opened for Nirvana on American and European legs of the Nevermind tour. At that point, Pearl Jam tapped them for their Vs. tour, and Urge Overkill were playing arenas.
Urge tapped Kramer (Bongwater, Butthole Surfers) to produce 1992’s Stull EP, which included a cover of Neil Diamond’s Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon and the original Goodbye To Guyville — whose title was adapted by Liz Phair for her acclaimed debut. Even as just an EP, it proved that Urge were ready for the big leagues, and they signed to Geffen Records later that year.
1993 brought the world Saturation, produced by the Butcher Bros. (Cypress Hill, Nine Inch Nails, Anthrax). Featuring radio hits like Sister Havana and Positive Bleeding, the band rock and rolled on. Quentin Tarantino picked Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon for inclusion in his upcoming film Pulp Fiction. The film and soundtrack became a massive hit, rocketing Urge into the public consciousness. After 1995’s Exit The Dragon, their whirlwind first decade came to a close. It was time for a break.
Kato and Roeser reunited in 2010, playing a set at Tarantino’s Friar’s Club Roast, and sat on the podium alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. Two years later, Rock & Roll Submarine was released to great acclaim. Now, a decade later, Urge Overkill return with Oui — 12 new tracks from Kato and Roeser, including an Urge-ified cover of Wham!’s Freedom. It’s the logical extension of everything everyone loves about Urge Overkill — killer riffs, memorable hooks, and the style and swagger of Kato and King.
So, add the word that goes before “please.” It’s Oui.”