From the first few seconds of any Uncle Acid song, it’s pretty clear that they aren’t reinventing the wheel. Their brand of heavy, sludgy, raw, and stoned rock music is taken straight from the playbooks of Black Sabbath, but miraculously, this isn’t a flaw. A lot of unoriginal rock bands have seen their downfall because they’re just living in the past, but Uncle Acid almost sidestep that criticism. Instead of just living in the past and sounding outdated, these guys pretty effectively re-create those classic sounds to make something pretty unoriginal, but entertaining nonetheless. “The Night Creeper” is a prime example of that idea.
This isn’t a great album, not even close really for me, but in today’s day and age it’s pretty nice to see a band just rock out as hard as these guys do. And with the raw and heavy production, this “rock out” mentality is captured perfectly. Now, Uncle Acid aren’t pulling out any barn burners here, as given the style that they’re working in, these songs are pretty slow moving, but there is such a nice emphasis on heavy riffs, blown out guitars, and strung out and loose playing that the heaviness is extremely effective. But the production and aesthetic doesn’t do all of the work for them, as on the best songs here, Uncle Acid undeniably bring the tunes, like on the opener, “Waiting for Blood,” and the best song here, the epic “Pusher Man,” which actually features some beautiful melodic phrasing amidst all of the heavy riffing. The songwriting here is pretty solid, and the playing is to, as these guys can whip some pretty bitchin’ guitar solos from time to time that never feel over the top, and can even groove pretty hard, as evidenced by the impeccable second half of the title track. A lot of the elements that I look for in my straight up rock albums are here: raw production, strong writing, strong playing, and aggression, but this all come with one caveat: it’s just not all that memorable.
Aside from the three definite standout tracks I’ve mentioned, much of this album kind of goes in one ear and out the other. None of the songs are distinctly bad, except for maybe “Inside,” which features an awkward groove that just does not go over well at all, and the hideous acoustic track that closes this thing out, but a lot of the songs are indistinct. Because this is a sound that’s been done so well in the past, and because Uncle Acid don’t really change up the formula very much on this record, if they are not bringing the absolute best melodies and ideas, then the songs fall by the wayside and feel a little inconsequential. For example, if Joey Bada$$ isn’t bringing his absolute best bars and beats, then it’s going to feel a little pointless because I have other great Joey songs and countless others who have done his style better.
I have my slight gripes with this album, but overall it’s a solid rock record that for the most part, provides an entertaining re-creation of old school stoner rock and heavy psych. Aside from the standouts there isn’t much to dig for here, but for those great moments alone, “The Night Creeper” is worth your time.
Standout Tracks: “Waiting for Blood” “Pusher Man” “The Night Creeper”