CD Review: The Muggs “Born Ugly”

To find an album of music so strong and enjoyable that you just need to put it on and let it play out from the first track to the last without the need to skip tracks is always a dream for music lovers. But a lot of the time, you inevitably find one or two tracks that don’t really live up to the rest of the release and you pass over those tracks to get to the better ones. So when you find that “perfect” album of music by a band or musician that is strong from beginning to end, you tend to cherish it more than other releases. Born Ugly by The Muggs is one such release that will rise to the top of your music collection because of the strength within each and every one of the 13 songs that make up the 2011 rock release.

The Muggs is a trio made up of musicians from Detroit, Michigan who has been influenced in a large way by the early rock bands who created their styles after listening to American blues. The blues-based rock created by The Muggs will remind many of the sound of bands like early Rolling Stones, The Kinks and most importantly, Cream. In fact, many of the songs on Born Ugly by The Muggs would fit right in with songs from Cream, especially their song “White Room”. This is largely due in part to the obvious parallels between the two rock trios.

From the very first notes on the title track of “Born Ugly,” the “classic rock” sound of The Muggs takes you over and you very quickly get lost in the music of the band. The playing of guitarist Danny Methric, bassist Tony DeNardo and drummer Todd Glass brings back the feel of “real” rock and roll. “Born Ugly” is the one track that seems to take the classic rock sound and mix it with commentary about how things are perceived and what is considered beautiful by today’s standards. The resulting track has a sound that truly seems influenced by the music of Cream.

While “Born Ugly” may remind you of Cream, the second track on the release, “Blood Meridian” has a stronger feel to the music and will bring back memories of Led Zeppelin. In fact, singer Danny Methric seems to channel Robert Plant on this track as he delivers the lyrics with a lot of energy.

“Home Free” seems to take the music from The Muggs and step it up a notch. On this track, the playing of DeNardo, Glass and Methric come together in a very solid and energetic way. “Home Free” is the first track on the release that showcases the playing of each musician. And the guitar solo by Methric adds a lot of energy to a track that already makes you want to jam along with the group.

Born Ugly from The Muggs is a release meant to be listened to straight through. One main piece of evidence that the listener will find that supports that concept is how the album has been produced. Throughout the 50 minutes of music on the release, the band segues from one song to another without taking a break. One specific part of the Born Ugly release that is made stronger by the use of segues is when the band transitions from the end of “Clean Break Blues” into “Notes from Underground” and then again from “Notes from Underground” into the next song of “Dear Theo”. The process of not stopping between songs creates a need in the listener to find out where the band is heading from one song to the next.

“Sturm und Drang” is one track off the album that proves the saying “less is more”. The Muggs slow the pace down a bit on this track and allow each and every note played to have its full affect on the listener. While there is no showing off by any of the three members of the band on this track, it is that unselfishness by the musicians that gives the listener the ultimate feeling that this trio truly is a band.

Born Ugly, the 2011 release from The Muggs, is a music lover’s dream- a solid album that not only invites, but ultimately DEMANDS, you to listen from beginning to end. The 13 tracks on the release feature strong songs that prove each member of the band to be gifted writers as well as talented musicians. The “classic rock” sound created by the band will definitely satisfy anyone’s need for “good” rock and roll, as the band stays true to the sounds that were created by those classic bands that came before them while also taking the music in its own specific musical direction.

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