Whatzup
The Fall and Rise of Rock & Roll
Un-Finished Business

by D.M. Jones
Fall & Rise

A sermon-like manifesto lays out the mission statement of Warsaw rockers Un-Finished Business, right there in the CD case of their debut, The Fall and Rise of Rock & Roll: “Inflamed with the passion of the past, on a quest to save rock & roll, UFB serves it up as it was meant to be.”

That’s a tall order, but what UFB does serve up definitely sticks to the ribs, melding influences from the 50s all the way through modern rock into a tightly wound and always engaging sound.

Some bands are bands and some are Bands; these guys are definitely the latter. Replete with names like Rocker (bass), Cooler (guitar) and Stix Magee (take a guess), this power trio of sharp-dressed men takes the stage in matching gear that would be best described as neon gangster chic (that’s gangster, not gangsta. Think Capone). The music is only slightly less flashy, showcasing Stix’s pummeling drum skills and colorful lead guitar work and keening vocals by the Cooler. Scotty Rocker lays down impressively musical basslines but keeps the foundation intact.

On “Into the Street” UFB exhume what’s left of “Summertime Blues” and gives it the brain of a hard-driving southern rocker, while “Drive Me Away,” the opening track, features a galloping beat (think “Hot for Teacher”) and amazing close-harmony vocals.

I’ve mentioned my affinity for the cowbell elsewhere, but will reaffirm it here ... because this record brings the cowbell. Good old fashioned, classic rock cowbell, hit hard but tastefully.

A frantic wah-drenched guitar ushers in the Zeppelin-meets-Jane’s Addiction funk crunch of “Crazy Life,” which also features a busy Magee in a percussion playground late in the tune, and though some of the vocals on “Darkness Over My Head” come off as a tad stiff, they’re nicely offset by tasteful blues guitar and a chugging rhythm.

The Rise and Fall of Rock & Roll is pristinely produced, and it’s evident that the band cut no corners in their effort - especially on the vocals, which are spot-on and really shine in the harmony department. “Tears in the Rain” is a prime example, also including the Cooler’s wailing lead vox, a Townshend-ian strum and a head-bobbing beat.

UFB also show off their mellower side on “I Will Love You,” a pretty and understated song featuring a cycling acoustic riff. A church organ and fugue-like vocals come in on “The Prelude,” a haunting change of pace that’s over almost as soon as it begins. Then it’s time for more cowbell and more rocking on “Forever With You,” showcasing some serious Blue Oyster Cult pop vibe.

The album wraps up with the marathon “The Fight,” which clocks in at six-plus minutes. This show-closer, full of arena-approved power chords and anthemic vocals, stretches out to show off the band’s considerable musical and dynamic skills.

A tip of the fedora to UFB for a consistent and entertaining listen.

Copyright 2006 Ad Media Inc.