This is a review of "Smut Rock EP" recorded by Uptight. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.

If this CD didn't have "we are mods" written all over it I could get fairly enthusiastic. It's fresh, it's shouty and it's self assured. The songs belt along and make enough clattering din to cause the necessary trouble at your standard gatecrashed semi in the suburbs. As long as no one's thinking, all is well. The guitar is pushy, the organ sound is nice n' kitsch and the vocals lose control in a manic nearly throwing up kind of way. It's English retro punk if it's anything.

But with "voodoo love" as the first number, it's also a bit close to Crème Brûlée land. Rhyming potions with lotions (and repeating it lots of times) takes a lot of bottle. Looked at from a distance, there do seem to be marbles loose. Mods captured hearts back in 1964. Granted. But the various cover versions we've enjoyed since then do look a bit like fancy dress on the late bus home, with all the best costumes gone up town in the taxi.

On this four track CD I can hear bits of early Kinks and echoes of Amen Corner. I think I'm supposed to pick up Jam and R&B resonance as well, but I'm afraid those bits don't work for me. As ever, if the songs aren't strong in their own right, then the genre is what you're left holding. And "mod" never was a musical genre, so it's all a bit shaky. Never mind.

There's something about Uptight's flamboyant CD that suggests they could move into the mad gospel screaming business that the Make Up were trading in before their recent split. But the stolen scooter had to go over Beachy Head first.