Ugly Thrash Demon: 2008

a2620759168_10You’re in high school again, in love with the one you can’t have; the beautiful one, the one you’re always thinking of, wishing you’d spent a few more minutes with them. Your friend. You’re always wondering, “How can I have you? Why won’t you be mine?” And it’s like you’re aching but there’s no pain, only the happiness of being in their presence, of even knowing they exist. Oh well. At least there’s still room in your car to pick up your friends; at least there’s still time to go Fast Food Central, and at least there’s still room for more junk food. No, life’s never been better. We may be bored, but we’ve got wheels to put the wind in our faces and blast music in our ears, to take us over to Carl’s house so we can watch crappy movies that make us laugh, and thank God, we have our parents money in our pocket to take us that far.

Summer came early when Ugly Thrash Demon‘s new album 2008 was released this January. Yes, the good times are back in all their melancholy lyrics and acoustic revelry, horns and all. It pleases me to say that these guys have stayed true to their original sound, bringing you that same vibe, turning the volume up on your heart and calling you outside to play. Songs like ‘Nostalgic Again’ and ‘Ghaty’ bring a new freshness to their repertoire, yet still retain that warm feeling, the one defined by an end to a full year of slaving in school and having those three awesome months ahead of you.

I think it’s safe to say that with age comes wisdom, and with the time that it’s taken for this new album to come out, these boys have learned a lot. The overall mix sounds polished and crisp; every instrument is in its right place. There’s a sense of great maturity in terms of song forms and instrumentation– which is to say that it seems much more complex and thought-out this time around. It’s always a challenge to organize and control ‘who’ plays ‘where’ when you’re in an 8-man band, but Ugly Thrash Demon manages to do it tastefully, creatively, and in a way that moves you. ‘It’s Been Too Long’ is one of those tracks that displays this new-found taste for structure, as well as showcases some great background harmonies by Philip Eberhart that I guarantee will deliver the shivers.

What really grips me about 2008 are the feelings evoked by the music and lyrics: The insurmountable joy, the overwhelming sadness and disappointment, and the sense of being an invincible teenager. But these nearly-forgotten sentiments of a younger day are not all found by looking into the past, as lead singer Chris Smith states in an interview, “I love thinking about the past, the adventures we’ve all shared together, exploring the woods near our neighborhoods, learning to drive and being able to go to Taco Bell for the first time without our parents. But sometimes it gets overwhelming. Nostalgia is a double edged sword. I’d think on it too much, too frequently, and it began to corrupt my present… but there’s an entire world outside of it that was waiting for me. So the album is a farewell of sorts, to looking in retrospect.”…10/10

*Previously Published on*