Sound — 9
Liken to America's Daughtry and Germany's Tokio Hotel, Great Britain's UXL are a melodic hard rock quartet who have a knack for transitioning their guitar flourishes from roaring bonfires to softly rolling landscapes. The band's latest release Can I Dream Again shares many characteristics with Finland's goth-rock magnates HIM and America's nu-metal titans Three Days Grace without making themselves exact copies of their hard rock counterparts. The band consists of three brothers, John Tierney - lead vocals and guitar, PJ Tierney - guitar, Paul Tierney - drums, and their friend Dan Clark - bass and keyboards. UXL's album Can I Dream Again comes with it's merits, like John T's hardcore-groomed vocals which have an expansive stretch comparable to Breaking Benjamin's lead singer Ben Burnley, and segments in their melodic flow that produces Tool-like maelstroms that rise and withdraw systematically. John's vocal chops really impress taking on soaring strides on the title track, rampage through the acoustic rock bars of Find Me A Way, and harden it's grip on the undulating guitars that tear through Onto Better Days. The push and pull in the chord dynamics create a tugging effect that riles up a rashness of the vocals and the melodic spurring. The crushing thumps of the rhythms are wicked and tied in with the guitars, they create ravishing melodic masses. UXL show intensity and good melodic instincts that is beyond their ages, some of them just barely touching the twenty-year mark.
Lyrics — 9
The band's lyrics are reflections, usually weighing the pros and cons about which is the right direction to take when the answers are not so clear. Like in the song Find Me A Way, John T. relates, Did you wander why all my yesterdays have passed me by/ Long lost forgotten dreams/ Things are not what they seem/ Find me a wayI need to know which way to go. The lyrics are based on reality which makes them plausible and relatable to people's lives. The lyrics don't necessarily provide the answers for a dilemma but they share in the sentiment of feeling confused.
Overall Impression — 9
Unlike the band's predecessors Duran Duran who also came from Birmingham, England, UXL's songs weigh heavy in their lyrics and music. There is a majestic air in their melodies and vocals that harkens of classic metal bands while infusing a modern vitality in their tunage. Their album is the best of both worlds showing conviction in their vocal talons and being congruent with their hardcore edges. UXL may not be original sounding, but they preserve hard rock's place on the podium and that's a better option to depending on bands from the past for a fix of melodic sounding metal.