It is no secret, I favour any requests for reviews from smaller independent artists over the PR company mass mail outs that I receive. Well of all of the ones that I have glanced over, The Good The Bad And The Zugly are one of the bands that stood out the most. Not just because of the outlandish name, but being described as “Norway’s best kept punk rock secret” had me intrigued.
So, Worst Four Years is in fact a compilation of the singles that they have released to date (no prizes for guessing these span over the first four years…). That is a key element to me, as I’m sure for most people, these guys are relatively unknown and none of these tracks had been heard before hand, so this can really be approached as an album as opposed to a “best of” sort of deal. And thankfully, Worst Four Years can pass off as an album, as aside from album closer It’s A Burning Hell there are no obvious contrasts in production or quality. In fact, I could only guess what songs were part of what singles without looking it up.
That said, when a band gets together to work on an album, there is more of that flow created, where songs gel together better and you get a little bit more creativity with snappier or more carefully constructed fillers or epics. That is the one thing absent here, and the fact that it is a compilation should be borne in mind with that respect.
All that said and done, it is a minor point to raise. The music itself is everything that punk rock is, and almost as good as it gets. The rough and ready attack to each song, the filthy bass and punchy guitars, and the care free lyrics and vocals, all combined into an addictively energetic frenzy. There are so many classic punk rock bands that …Zugly could be compared to from The Dwarves or early Black Flag to the likes of Turbonegro or MDC.
For any band to really stand out, they need to pull off something drastically different and out there, or stick to something they know but absolutely nail it. At the heart of it all, …Zugly sound like a fairly typical punk rock band, not really doing a lot to be different as such, but they are definitely the latter. They have enough of an edge to be their own thing, and around some of standout guitar work and catchy riffs manage to capture the best elements of punk music.
Safe to say, …Zugly have earned the title of “best kept secret”; somehow all of these singles, and two other albums, have been released already by the band. Hopefully this is the release that gets them more widely known. I haven’t heard the other two albums to compare, so this release may just be helped by the fact that half of the songs were intended singles, but either way this is one to check out, and even if you do already know the band, it’s unlikely you will own any of the limited pressed singles included.
Jake Hancke – 11/08/2017
Worst Four Years is available now from Fysisk Format.
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