Bumpin Uglies – Keep It Together
1.) All In
3.) Sorry I’m Not Sorry
4.) Stop The Fall
6.) Hipster Douchebag
7.) Urination Citation
8.) Place Your Bets
9.) Load In Load Out
10.) Rules Be Damned
11.) Keep Movin
12.) All That I Need
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: Sept. 9th, 2016
Record Label: Right Coast Records
Official Website: Bumpin Uglies Website
Bumpin Uglies are a reggae rock trio from the coastal city of Annapolis, MD. Since forming in 2008, Bumpin Uglies have released 2 albums, a live show LP, and several EPs. The band maintains a relentless tour schedule, attracting a mix of reggae and punk rock fans to their live shows. Bumpin Uglies is fronted by lead singer and guitarist Brandon Hardesty, with Dave Wolf handling the bass, and TJ Haslett behind the kit.
“Steadily grinding because we’re beasts of burden, taking our chances while the fire’s burning.” Brandon Hardesty sums up his band’s MO with the very first line on Keep It Together’s intro track, “All In.” Bumpin Uglies have been putting out solid music for nearly a decade, yet have remained largely in the shadows of the reggae rock world. Keep It Together harnesses all of that grinding and struggling, and turns it into songs of passion and determination, ultimately amounting to what is easily Bumpin Uglies’ best album to date.
Keep It Together is a collection of hard-nosed reggae rock ballads. The lyrics are extremely honest, and Hardesty sings each song with fire in his breath. Bumpin Uglies effectively change tempos throughout the album, building up to would-be-moshes, then slowing down the beat to allow our heart rates to settle back down.
The aforementioned song “All In” is an impressive lead off. Bumpin Uglies use reverb and power chords to tease as if they are about to break into a heavy rock song, but opt to keep the slow and steady reggae rhythm. “Snowflake” is a clever and personal warning song that deals with the denial and destruction of drug addiction affecting a girl referred to as Snowflake.
The influence from Ballyhoo!, label-mates and fellow Marylanders, is ubiquitous on Keep It Together. Bumpin Uglies are a bit like their bad apple younger sibling. The influence is especially present on their song, “Sorry I’m Not Sorry.” Though it’s less edgy than the rest of the songs, “Sorry I’m Not Sorry” is one of best on the album. “Stop The Fall” is another killer track with a gripping chorus. However, the top track on Keep It Together has to be “Load In Load Out.” Bumpin Uglies sing an emotional song about the life of touring musicians, living in a van in order to chase the dream to make it as a band. Gas station meals, sleeping on the floor, and endless highway miles. Hardesty pours out, “broke strings, broke dreams, broke bones, until I break into the game I’ll be broke as shit,” then adds, “I’ll get that money and I’ll stop writing about the brokenness.” Despite the apparent despair, it’s a song with an underlying message of hope and perseverance.
Bumpin Uglies close out the album with the acoustic song “All That I Need.” This is a heartfelt song about valuing life’s simplicity and cherishing the things we do have. After an album that stretches across a million different emotions, “All That I Need” sends the listener out on an uplifting note.
That’s the overarching theme of Keep It Together; riding out the rough patches on the road, enjoying the little things, and trusting that with determination the vision you’ve laid out will come to fruition. And on Keep It Together, Bumpin Uglies successfully couple that message with powerful reggae rock compositions. It’s an album with no-frills attached, just candid, clever lyricism mixed with high volume reggae punk rock.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Winters
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Watch: Bumpin Uglies – “Stop The Fall” Official Music Video (HD)