Waking Ugly - Waking Ugly
2010, Waking Ugly
Waking Ugly is the long-running covert operation of Musical Secret Agents Lydia Gardner and Darren Pace. The Melbourne, Australia based duo are set to blow their cover this fall with a five-song self-titled EP full of some of the tastiest pop music to emerge from Down Under in a generation. The seeds of Waking Ugly were germinated way back in 2004, with Gardner and Pace tiring of the same old pop formula offered up through popular media and resolving to change the world. With an unspecified November release date for the EP, Waking Ugly appear set to go from unknown to full blown practically overnight.
Waking Ugly opens with what will be the EP's first single, "You Know You Wanna", a positively-themed, super-charged pop/rock hybrid that's pure gold. Waking Ugly remind listeners it’s never too late to chase your dreams in a sugar-coated electro-pop/rock arrangement that could find a home on pop, dance and rock charts. Lydia Gardner is a super-charged front woman with a voice you could listen to for days on end, and the instrumental bed that Gardner and Pace establish here offers a full sound that imparts melody without the aural clutter that often accompanies modern pop music. "Must Be Love" is an altruistic love song full of the romance of young love over a mild dance beat. The mix is interesting, as Waking Ugly show early on a knack for crafting viable pop songs that don't give in to cliché but are as catchy as the flu in an elevator.
Waking Ugly call out the modern consumer culture on "Zombies", noting how society blinds itself to experience in a storm of consumption and greed. This serious subject is given an ironic touch and delivered in a pure pop/rock arrangement that will stick in your head for days. "Girlfriend" blends Europop and rock in a song about attraction for all the wrong reasons. "Girlfriend" is the edgiest track on the disc, with a heavier sound that Waking Ugly has shown to this point, and may be the sleeper hit of the bunch. Don't be surprised if a licensing agreement lands this song on a movie or television soundtracks on multiple continents. Waking Ugly say goodbye (for now) with "Guess It's Over", a breakup song of epic proportions. "Guess It's Over" proves that "Waking Ugly" is not a one-dimensional pop act. The song is a mature and measured look at the aftermath wrapped up in a melody that will run through your head for days, and delivered in a reserved and poignant arrangement that should light up program director's imaginations at adult rock and pop stations across the globe.
Waking Ugly is the real deal; a throwback to the days when pop music was fun to make and listen to. Even when Waking Ugly injects social conscience into their songs the arrangements are so infectious and enjoyable you can overlook it if you're so inclined. Waking Ugly offers something for everyone here, and shows a depth and maturity that's unusual in such a pop-oriented debut. Waking Ugly has been toiling in their laboratory for six years now; it seems likely that there's a lot more where this came from. We'll be waiting with bated breath. Waking Ugly is a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
Waking Ugly doesn't appear to have much of a web presence to date. But keep your eyes open. This duo can't remain a secret for long.