Monday, June 25, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 148



Ultra V mixes decent music, amazing drinks

Ultra V
Bring On the Fuego
*** (out of five stars)
RCA Records

By Shiley Carter
Daily Cougar Staff

When a group of New Yorkers decide to pick up and move to the sunny California, you have to expect them to experience culture shock. From the fast-paced,
often rainy and cold cement-filled crowded roads of New York, to the laid-back, sunny and warm, palm tree-lined streets of California, the members of Ultra V
thought they were going to take some time to adjust.

But the warm winter they encountered only inspired this five-piece to work a little harder on their first album for RCA. As a matter of fact, the infectious attitude
of the California life-style proved to be even inspirational for the turn to a more upbeat feeling in the music.

While lounging in the hotel pool and catching some rays before and after work on their album, Bring on the Fuego, bass player Maggie Kim and the hotel
bartender managed to concoct a new beverage that turned into a regular drink for getting the band trashed while living it up.

The drink, named Ultra V, became the band's name because of its prominence in their drunken lives at the Mondrian Hotel. Ultra V is also a little something
special in the movie A Clockwork Orange (if you have not seen it, go rent it and you'll understand). This could be another reason for the name of the drink and the band since lead vocalist Chris Kennedy is such a movie fanatic that at least three of the songs on the album deal with some of his favorite movies and characters.

James Smolka/RCA Records

The name Ultra V might sound familiar to fans of the film A Clockwork Orange, but this quintet also took its name from a mixed drink invented in part by bass player Maggie Kim.

Combining elements from pop, thrash metal, rock and trip-hop, Ultra V falls short of anything sounding even remotely like thrash metal or rock. A poppy,
trip-hop, alternative sound best describes the music on Bring on the Fuego. Their first single, "Playboy Mansion," sets the trend for the album as the first

The song might remind one of local band Faceplant, in that it sounds like something that should be played at a party, or more specifically, a frat party. Its
free-flowing beats and grooving bass lines are accompanied by less than interesting vocals and lyrics.

In fact, simple and repetitive catchy phrases are used throughout the album making it perfect for the drunken, slurring crowd found at parties where this music
is welcome. Its depth is nonexistent and its appeal is slacking. While some popularity may come from the fact that the seventh track on the album, "Can I
Crash Here Tonite?," was originally embraced by the TV series Roswell, little else stands out in Ultra V's music on this particular album.

It should be noted that the band's best musician is Maggie Kim, its bass player. She can definitely throw some bass lines that can make even the most
uninterested music fan want to groove. But the songs are lacking when it comes to lyrics and vocal skills -- which tend to sound a bit pushed.

But "Alphabet Lounge" and "Shut Your Mouth," find the band achieving a good sound with a nice variance between the two songs.

Basing many of their songs on pop culture's sex and money addiction, and having written much of the album under the hypnotized trance of California, it's
understandable why Fuego lacks depth.

It was meant to be fun with an upbeat attitude. Ultra V will be recognized as a party band with music perfect for the beach. But little more than that will ever
come of this band unless it works out a few loose strings.

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