Some style, but rough around the edges
Anthony Cooper | Louisville, KY United States | 05/24/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Supersonic Storybook starts off real well with "The Kids Are Insane". When King says "Can ya hear me U.O.?" you know they have some style and confidence. Songs like "Candidate" "What Is Artane?", and "Vacation In Tokyo" aren't bad, but the muddy singing and playing undercut the songs. "Emmaline" is a decent slower song. "Blackie's Birthday" and "Henhough" are basically novelty songs. "Bionic Revolution" is a fun (mostly) instrumental, and "Navajo" is a more thoughtful (mostly) instrumental to close the album out. It's not bad, but the best is yet to come from this trio."
Half-baked album actually grows on you
Sal Nudo | Champaign, Illinois | 04/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Initially, I had some major misgiving about this CD. Even after multiple spins, I couldn't get past what I felt was overly shoddy production, a half-baked aura and, quite simply, mostly lame songs. In short, it was hard for me to fathom what was attracting the major labels to this band back in the early 1990s. Further listening, however, has proved me wrong. No, not every tune on this nine-song disc is complete ear candy -- but the ones that lean in a more melodic direction do make it worthwhile. If you're a big fan of the great Urge Overkill, then "The Supersonic Storybook" is ultimately a must-have. And strangely, the album's roughness actually begins to make sense after a while, as if UO needed to get its bugs out before switching to a more polished sound on future CDs.
With its scrubby looseness, organ work, crowd-happy infectiousness and chunky guitars, "The Kids are Insane" was a perfect song to lead off this album. It's followed by the more somber but even better "The Candidate," which, unbelievingly, ranks as one of my favorite UO rockers ever. The song seems to be an odd melding of politics and love, and soundwise, it offers the addictive, melodic rhythm guitar work that UO would put forth so fluidly on future CDs. Keeping listeners on their toes, "The Candidate" undergoes a complete transformation by song's end, segueing into somewhat less worthy but still interesting fare.
"(Today is) Blackie's Birthday," though loose, fun and fast, comes off as an internal birthday present for the band only, right before the major celebrating goes down (hard to believe Blackie was just 22; wow, how time flies!). "Emmaline" is a more substantial blues-ish track sung soulfully by Nash Kato, which resonates with time. Equally as groovin' and soulful is the cool "Bionic Revolution" sung with gusto by the talented King Roeser and guest musician Lynn Jordan. Heavy, grunge-like riffing is prominent on "What is Artane?" and the much more melodic and worthy closer, "Theme from Navajo," which offers raw, swirling guitar and almost inaudible vocals that somehow are forgivable amid the fetching crunch of surrounding noise. The only throwaway tune is the odd "Henhough," but don't let that stop you from enjoying this brawny UO disc.
And to think I almost got rid of it at one point.
No standouts, indian drumming?
robbieandrose | New England | 01/05/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Love UO but they went the wrong way with this record. None of the songs really stand out and then the album descends into a some kind of a Powwow at the end. Didn't last long in my truck at all."