[8 December 2008]
The early 21st-Century garage rock revival was, like a lot of garage rock itself, fun but anticlimactic. Many bands signed and dropped; hardly any sustained careers. Dublin-based Little Steven faves The Urges enter this fray about five years too late to gain even a bit of fleeting fame, but their grimy, trebly romps are pleasurable enough for anybody who still dances to this stuff. “Jenny Jenny” (wisely not a Little Richard cover) sets the album into overdrive, and “You Don’t Look So Good” could be an early Stooges outtake. But there’s too many forgettable, indistinguishable, sub-Nuggets frolics amidst the fuzzy psycho freakouts. Unlike the best garage bands, they don’t exactly prize hooks, and their riffs aren’t all that solid either. The Urges have honed their derivative garage rock into something not only anonymous, but kind of boring as well. Thus, Psych Ward is the ultimate paradox: competent garage rock.