- Sound of Urchin
On stage and record, Sound of Urchin's M.O. is to build to a slow boil. In an attention-deficient rock world, it hasn't paid high dividends; they're a textbook example of how the music industry smothers acts it should be nurturing.
Steve Ralbovsky, the A&R rep who signed the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, connected the band and RCA. Urchin turned down a big advance, putting off the traditional big-budget promotional push for a day that never came.
Displaying the rare combination of heavy and hilarious, Urchin built a cult following by opening for bands like the comedic rock duo Tenacious D (Urchin is Jack Black's favorite band) and the funky-frenetic 2 Skinnee J's. After a string of EPs, 2002's You Are the Best started with trippy, impassioned praise of tofu, continued with a midtempo rocker about a vigilante eagle, and built to a metal meltdown. Then RCA slashed most of its roster, leaving Urchin to release its sophomore LP, The Diamond, as free agents. As did its predecessor, the album has moments that evoke Anthrax, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Rush, but they're in the middle of the disc. At the outset, keyboards tinkle before guitarist Reverend B-Ill announces his presence. As momentum builds, joyful romps like "Dracula Bite" glow with joy that would make them a shoo-in for the Nobel Prize for Happy Music.