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UHF | If It Was Easy (Second Story)
On their third album, following the rather successful 'Lottery,' UHF continues their grand tradition of veering into trippy, longish jams at the drop of a hat. Fear not, however, the songs are still the main focus and only rarely - such as on the Outrageous Cherry-retro of Last Rays of the Sun - do they wind up on sub-Doors soil. More defining, perhaps, is their power-pop leanings, which replace their somewhat more garage-y past. And with the stupidly grinning, irresistible feel-good track She's Going Up, they come off like Cheap Trick finally doing something good again. Elsewhere, they are rather more subdued than Rick Nielsen and co, which admittedly isn't saying much, and the lovely First Thing in the Morning is a sentimental breeze that explodes in a churning frenzy midway through. Rain on the Street is careful and tender lo-fi soul - yes, there is such a thing - and they bury a highlight at the tail-end of the album, with the laid-back strum that is These Footsteps. Psychedelic pop seems to be this month's fancy, and the up-and-about rush of Moderntown could be its theme song, a brilliant and unabashed stab at producing this year's late-summer hit. At their best, UHF present jangly, summery guitar pop that sneaks up on you and overwhelms you with its complete lack of pretentiousness and musical snobbery.

Stein Haukland
August 2002