City Paper is not for tourists
Inclusion on last year’s Pulp Fiction soundtrack gave Urge Overkill a legitimate taste of the superstardom that they’ve always faked so stylishly. Make-believe superstars, indeed, but there’s always been a sort of earnestness in the band’s delivery of ’70s sensationalism. Recorded, like 1993’s Saturation, with hiphop producers the Butcher Brothers, Exit the Dragon has the same crisp, Spartan sound—but the band’s performance is decidedly different. The disc betrays the absorption of still more ’70s rock influences (Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones being obligatory nowadays) as well as an awareness that Neil Diamond figures more prominently in the band’s ethos than its one-off cover tune suggests. While Saturation came across like a few radio-ready singles surrounded by second-rate material, Dragon is consistently strong; the playing is looser and the arrangements more subtle. Though it lacks quick hits like Saturation standouts “Positive Bleeding” and “Sister Havana,” Dragon is an album that nonetheless rewards close listening.