SO POWERFUL…SO BEAUTIFUL – The Bump-n’-Uglies (Steel Cage)
Do we really need another in a long line of wrestling bands? If you have to ask, you’re probably not a fan of the late Psychotic Turnbuckles (Australia), the Illegal Movers (England) or the Grand Old Daddies of them all, New York City’s Dictators. And you probably wouldn’t take to this, the second long-player for Detroit’s Masters of the Square Ring, the Bump-n’-Uglies.

Gotta say it up front: The modern breed of over-hyped, ‘roids-gulping, glitzy TV star wrestlers do nothing for me. Give me the likes of the old-time, Ausssie-bred guys like Steve Rackman, Ronnie Miller and Mario Milano. There was a down-home wholesomeness about these underpaid professionals – even when they were whipping out a concealed object from inside their trunks. Beer drinkers, not coke-snorting pop stars. And the exotic freak value of the overseas circuit stars who made it down to Australia – guys like Abdullah the Butcher and Haystacks Calhoun - made for a great Saturday afternoon’s entertainment.

So does “So Powerful…”. It’s basically tightly-wound, twin-guitar rifferama overlaid with paint stripper vocals and some of the funniest lyrics this side of Jim Morrison (although he was serious). Get a load of the titles: “Is It Fake?!! Is It Fake?!!…Is It Fake?!! The Sad Sordid Tale of Dr D. David Schultz”; “Heavy Hearts and Cauliflowered Ears”; “It Ain’t Cheatin’ If the Ref Ain’t Lookin’ and; “(Theme From) A Chairshot”

You will need to refer to the lyric sheet to make out many of the better turns-of-phrase. When the Uglies lock in, the output borders on speedcore, for the most part. If you’re into tales of (a.) washed-up rasslers contemplating their scars and bruises, (b.) songs about drinking and bars or (c.) all of the above, reading up will be worth the effort.

“Heavy Hearts…” might vaguely recall the Tators but most of the songs are closer in execution to the Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom oeuvre. In short, the Uglies are more hardcore than straight-up wrestling rock. “Abandoned Soul” is a cover from a Detroit hardcore band SLBC that shows away their influences. This album is hi-enery powerslams most of the way, until the final listed track “Loser Leaves Town” (there’s a bonus cut after it), a mid-tempo rocker with slow burn moments that leaves you wanting more.

Production is by Jim Diamond at Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders and it’s immaculate (you can smell the odour of sweat on guitar strings – or is that a sweaty kitbag a wrestler forgot to unpack?)

The Bump-n’-Uglies look the part too; Mainman Bubba Mackenzie looks like he walked right out of the Felt Forum while the Movado twins (Amado on guitar, Josh on drums) look like they have Curly Joe in the bloodlines. A band not to be trifled with, for sure. The Barman