Somebody get Eric from Five Horse Johnson on the phone, because in all my days of recklessly casting opinions onto the hard work of others, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a band who needed a harmonica as badly as does Ufesas from Uruguay. On last year’s self-titled EP, released via Skittlebrau/Folie ? Deux Records, the five-piece runs through a four track set of dirty garage blues, and though the guitars howl and echo and puff their boozy breath all over your girlfriend while she’s standing right next to you at the show, the shrill sound of a mouth harp is all the more conspicuous for its absence.
Opener “The Destroyer” might be the most “stoner rock” of the bunch, with a riff that shuffles along accompanied by thick bass and swaggering, slurred vocals. A bit faster than the hungover “Barely Alive” which immediately follows it, there are no shortage of parallels to Nebula aping Zeppelin. “Barely Alive” is the longest of the pack at 6:19 and is the musical equivalent of rolling out of bed only to have the daylight smash you with a headache while you try and remember where you are and how you got there. Only difference is it rocks. Hangovers, not so much.
The shouty “Goin’ to the Mountain” sounds live and vibrant, and short acoustic closer “Keep Me Away” comes on as a surprise from Ufesas, who up till then had been content with rocking out classic rock style. The vibe is like a snide, GNR Lies kind of feeling, minus the racial slurs, and the blues keeps up right to the end. The EP may be a quick one — all told it’s well under 20 minutes long — but if nothing else, consider it notice that time spent checking Ufesas out on MySpace (or whatever your preferred method of online investigation may be) is time spent in a worthwhile endeavor. They’re not going to change the face of international stoner rock, but these four songs are cool enough to keep my beers cold, and that’s good enough for me, even if they could use a harmonica.
Which they could.Folie a Deux, Ufesas, Uruguay