The first two songs on Ultra V’s Bring on the Fuego are “Playboy Mansion” and “Money” and these are an immediate indication as to what you’re in for. They unabashedly revel in their trashy excess. To their credit, Ultra V seems to love what they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean you will.
While Bring on the Fuego has its charms musically, combining a large assortment of sounds and styles into a creative musical mixture, there’s nothing beneath their obnoxious emptiness. Every moment is permeated by superficiality, from the pounding “Igloo” to their attempt at sensitivity “Can I Crash Here Tonite?” Even when the songs sound great, as many of them do, they’re still annoying.
Lead singer Chris Kennedy has an intriguing voice, with both sarcastic and sincere qualities, but he doesn’t seem to utilize it properly, even on the out-of-place (and therefore pleasant) “Come On”. The rest of the band plays their instruments with a forceful command, but their talent is wasted in these mostly gimmicky songs.
Ultra V tries to convince listeners that these songs are done tongue-in-cheek (their press release does), but sadly, most of the lyrics are offensive and not funny at worst, and merely unoriginal at best. Evoking the seedy bar scene on “Alphabet Lounge”, a handful of pickup lines is offered, and the overall effect is just creepy and disagreeable, even with the chorus of “One more shot down in the Alphabet Lounge.” The promising “Weirdo” sadly offers no insight with lines like “You all keep looking at me like I’m a freak made for cheap B-movies.” Like the rest of the song, it sounds clever, but is not expressing anything that’s new.
Bring on the Fuego ultimately feels pointless. Ultra V is throwing away what talent they have as a band in creating songs that are irritatingly vacant of anything that feels real. No matter how much fun the band seems to be having making this music, it doesn’t translate into fun for the listeners.
// Notes from the Road
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