The Urge - Master Of Styles (Cover Artwork)

The Urge

Master Of Styles (1998)


I figured, considering this band recently broke up, it would be a good time to review one of their CD's. I was going to review "Recieving the Gift of Flavor", as it is a fan favorite, but I actually prefer this album to any of their others, even the critic fave "Too Much Stereo". So here we go.

The Urge are a complete mish-mash of styles. Most people peg them for just another 3rd wave ska band, but this could not be further from the truth. Yes, they have upbeats and a horn section, but they are much more than just a ska band. The Urge combine elements of funk, metal, punk, ska, reggea and hip-hop into one big steaming pot of musical stew. Some songs, like their cover of the Bad Brains classic "Gene Machine" are done pretty much as punk-metal. Others, like "Divide and Conquer" ride a reggea verse and chorus, with a metal cresendo for a bridge. Still other songs like "Straight To Hell" and "Identity Crisis" come off like P.O.D.-style rap-rock. You name a style, its probably on here.

When the band does play straight ska-punk, they play it better than most. "Jump Right In", featuring guest vocals from Nick Hexum of 311 is a great song, one of my favorite ska-punk songs of all time. Basically, this is that rare album where every song is a keeper, and while each song is different, the overall Urge style is there.

To conclude, it is obvious why The Urge called their album "Master of Styles". Its what they are, playing a variety of musical genres, and playing them well. Yeah, they get pigeonholed into the ska-core category, but they shouldn't. This CD has a lot to offer, so I would recommend it even if ska and reggea aren't your thing. They cover a lot of ground on this disc, so check it out. Recommended if you like: 311, Thumper, POD, Sublime, Sprung Monkey.