Bumpin’ Uglies was formed by lead singer/guitarist/song-writer Brandon Hardesty in 2008, when he set out to create a sound and an approach that was unique and immediately identifiable. It’s the same thing every artist says that they want when they form their band, but Bumpin’ Uglies are the rare act that does stand out in every way, making them utterly memorable to everyone the come across. They incorporate many styles into their music, with a major emphasis on ska, reggae and punk. But they don’t really care what bucket you want to put them in, either you love ‘em or you don’t—it’s your choice to join the party or sit outside instead; and It’s always more fun in the party.
The Bumpin Uglies, a reggae band from Annapolis, Maryland are a refreshing reminder that Reggae has more to offer than the stereotypes and stigmas associated with it would lead you to believe. Listen to any song from the Bumpin Uglies catalog of songs and you will find lyrics inspired by real experiences and struggles that the average person can relate to. The Reggae artists of today need a reminder that the most important aspect of the message in your music, is that it’s genuine. The Bumpin Uglies and their music is a testament to that.
You won’t find any lyrics preaching about “One Love”, “Good Vibes”, or “Jah”. The singer/song writer of the band, Brandon Hardesty, is the perfect example of the stereotypical suburban white boy, he isn’t a member of Rastafarian religion and he doesn’t pretend to be to sell music. The Reggae genre is tough to find success in because it’s not played on the radio in most U.S. cities and exposure is hard to come by, there is little incentive to be unique and risk being out of touch with mainstream reggae fans so it’s a bold move for Hardesty. I personally believe it will pay off because Reggae is a growing genre in the U.S. and The Bumpin Uglies are blazing a new path for other reggae artist who also don’t fit the genres stereotypes which will make the genre more relatable to the average American.
As a fan of Reggae music, I urge anyone that considers themselves to be a fan of reggae music to help grow the genre and make it better by supporting the bands that are trying to expand this genre like the Bumpin Uglies. Make sure you are promoting your local Reggae concerts and inviting your friends and family to attend them with you.
The Bumpin Uglies are declaring that the days of being small time in the reggae scene are no more with their new full Length Album titled “Beast From The East”
The Singles: I have to admit I didn't take to the first batch of singles that were dropped after All in Stride which set the bar really high for me when it came to what we would get out of this album. However I don't drink very often and I've never been big on smoking songs but they have definitely grown on me since I've gotten a few more listens in. Now as for Crazy, I loved that song as a single and I think it's amazing to hear both Brandon and Howi releasing songs that pay homage to such an amazing era of music.
First Impressions: Right away "Could've been great" grabbed me and wouldn't let go because it such an amazing song! I actually had to listen to the album two more times before I could focus enough on the next track to actually review it. Once I stopped to relax and enjoy City by the bay I quickly realized how beautiful the song was and how Brandon got the inspiration. As I kept listening through the album one thing stood out above all and that was the passion and energy that the band brought into this record after picking up an amazing keyboardis which really elevated the bands ability to manifest their music into a more idealistic and beautiful place, it allowed their songs potential to really be fulfilled and put on full display.
Overall Summary: I am so happy for these guys to finnaly be making it onto the scene after watching them work their asses off touring non stop for over five years. This album is a turning point for the band and I can't wait to hear more
I'll be posting a video review for this album as well on on youtube page!
Intro:The Bumpin Uglies are back with a new EP titled “Better. Faster. Stronger.”, this release contains some reworked classics as wells as a few new titles to hold fans over until they drop the new album due for release later this year. We’ve had a great working relationship with the Bumpin Uglies in the past but I’m going to try and put my bias aside while I write this review because I know it’s hard to find friends who can be a fan of your work and give you an honest opinion. So here’s my review of the Bumpin Uglies new EP “Better. Faster. Stronger.”
My first take was that this was going to be a heavier release with some experimental sounds to sample its appeal to the public. To be honest I think the rough sound of the original recordings for the songs “White Boy Reggae” & “Addictive Personality” is part of what made them signature songs for the band. I wouldn’t say the new versions are overworked but I think they are a result of an identity crisis for the band which can be inferred by the lyrics of new songs on this EP. The reworks don’t damage the appeal of the bands signature songs but I personally prefer the original releases. I’m a huge fan of these guys so it’s not easy for me to write anything other than a rave review but I’m not the type to tell someone what they want to hear and I know everyone benefits a lot more from the truth. I think the original releases on this EP stay true to what makes the Bumpin Uglies sound so appealing to average people like myself. It’s possible that I may just be a little close minded to new renditions of music I already like but that’s my take on the reworks.
Now as for the new releases, I’m happy to say they are beautiful additions to the Bumpin Uglies catalog and truly speak to me as a fan of reggae music. The struggles we face in everyday life are usually ignored by the genre in favor of lot of stereotypical lyrics that don’t truly resonate with most people here in the states. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because this new music only serves to confirm my beliefs that the Bumpin Uglies success will lead the way to opening this genre to more than just Rastafarians, pot smokers, and Marley fans. I know that I said this EP seems to be the result of an identity crisis because of the reworks and the lyrics of the new releases and that might seem like it contradicts what I just said but I feel like it supports my statement. We have all gone through an identity crisis where we question our place in this world and that struggle is evident in “do it yourself” and “Live your Life” Changing a genre isn’t easy and the struggles that come along with trying to do that isolate the Bumpin Uglies. When you get to the second half of this EP it truly shines and despite the struggles faced, I believe this identity crisis provided the inspiration for three amazing new songs. I also think that the success that awaits Hardesty and the gang will come as a direct result of the hardships they face. Life is not meant to be easy and even though it may be hard to admit that struggle is a necessary requirement for success it a lot better than believing the only way you can reach your goals is by selling your soul.
Overall this EP has something for fans who are new to the Bumpin Uglies as well as something for those who already know and love the band. While I may not be a huge fan of the new take on all songs I’m sure it will be appealing to those hearing this band for the first time and the new songs more than make up for any lack of excitement experienced by someone who prefers the original recordings of signature songs. I definitely recommend that anyone who likes reggae music go ahead and purchase this EP for themselves because the bottom line is this is a great EP that has something for everyone.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review and I’d love to hear Y’alls feedback on it as well as what y’all think of the Bumpin Uglies. If you like what you hear or want to read more about them you can check out our Bumpin Uglies artist spotlight page featuring an exclusive interview with Brandon Hardesty and content from their last show in Houston. You can also join us for their upcoming Houston show on June 9th at Scout Bar to hear your favorite tracks and possibly even some newer unreleased material live!