The Slow Death - Born Ugly Got Worse (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Slow Death

Born Ugly Got Worse (2011)

Kiss of Death Records

It would appear that punk rock supergroup the Slow Death has added a few more punk rock all-stars to the mix. Turns out supergroups could always be more super, and the addition of the likes of Zack Gontard (Dear Landlord) and Annie Sparrows (Soviettes) certainly helps on the group's debut full-length. Speaking of which, if you wanted to anything about the band, the title Born Ugly Got Worse sure does sum it up.

What listeners get here is essentially a 30-minute continuation of the tunes found on the band's excellent seven-inches. Ever so slightly country-tinged bar punk tunes coated with lyrics that alternate between self-loathing and self-deprecating come one after another. While the whole drunk punk style has been done before, the Slow Death still does it better most. Born Ugly rocks the "fun songs/sad stories" dichotomy pretty well.

The record rarely lets up on energy. "Ticks of the Clock" oddly opens with guest vocalist Sparrows before "Pretty Boy" Jesse Thorson takes over the mic; either way, this a tear-in-your-beer-type song about missing someone badly. "Clock" sets the album up for a series of rocking, depressing tunes. "Side One Side A" (not to be confused with "First Song Side One," by drummer Mike Yannich's other band, the Ergs!) keeps the tempo up and the outlook grim. "Phantom Limbs" is yet another country-punk bummer.

Born Ugly's strength and weakness both lay in its consistency. Depending on one's perspective, it's either really coherent or really repetitive. I favor the former. The record doesn't deviate too much from the formula established by "Clock," but when it does, even if it's just a tempo change on "Opposite of Jesse's Girl," which slows down enough to add a guitar solo, it stands out.

The Slow Death is good at writing a particular kind of song. That song is rollicking and shouted out. It has a good beat. It's also inevitably about breaking up, getting drunk… or getting drunk because of a break-up. Born Ugly isn't quite a mindblower, but it's a solid record from some veterans that deserves multiple spins.